Child Care Funding Review Released
A review of child care funding confirms the direction the province is taking in early-childhood development. The report recommends improving wages, training and accountability in the child care sector.
“In May, we announced plans for improving wages and training in order to help child care centres attract and keep dedicated, qualified workers,” said Community Services Minister Peter Christie. “This report will be helpful as we map out a strategy for early childhood development over the next five years.”
The review looked at how government funds licensed child care facilities and it made recommendations on improving the way public funding is invested in child care. The review focused on two main sources of funding for licensed child care -- operating grants and child care subsidies for low-income families. The review recommends a funding formula for the distribution of grants.
The reviewer, Jane Beach, is a national child care expert. In partnership with a local consulting firm, EDM Environmental Design and Management Ltd., she held numerous meetings and interviews with the child care sector. The key issue raised by the sector was staff recruitment and retention -- a factor impacted by salary levels.
The Government of Nova Scotia has been involved in child care funding since 1971, when it introduced fee subsidies. There are now 2,600 subsidized child care spaces.
Last year, the first portable spaces were introduced, meaning the subsidy is attached to the child and can move with the child to another licensed centre. The review recommends making all new spaces portable, thereby providing more choice to parents.
The report, released today, recommends comprehensive reviews of family child care and child care for children with special needs, leading to a strategic plan for child care in Nova Scotia.
It also recommends developing a non-profit, community-based infrastructure for child care. Another recommendation calls for improving access to quality, regulated early childhood programs and services by increasing their availability and affordability.
Comments regarding the Nova Scotia Child Care Funding Review can be sent to: Child Care Funding Review, Department of Community Services, PO Box 696, Halifax, N.S. B3H 2T7. The deadline for submissions is July 31.
The Nova Scotia Round Table on Child Care -- a ministerial advisory committee -- is expected to submit a formal response to the report to the minister this summer. The Nova Scotia Child Care Funding Review can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/coms.
This year the child care sector in Nova Scotia will see an infusion of $6 million in new funding under the federal/provincial/territorial Early Childhood Development Agreement.
FOR BROADCAST USE
A review of child-care funding confirms the direction Nova Scotia is taking in early childhood development. The report recommends improving wages, training and accountability in the child-care sector.
Community Services Minister Peter Christie notes that the government announced plans in May for improving wages and training to help attract and keep dedicated, quality workers. He says this report will be helpful in mapping out the strategy for early-childhood development over the next five years.
The reviewer was Jane Beach, a national child-care expert.
Among her recommendations are: developing a non-profit, community-based infrastructure for child care; and making quality, regulated, childhood services more accessible and more affordable.
kjd June 22, 2001 12:06 P.M.