I’m done some work recently with Building Blocks for Child Care (B2C2) on how to facilitate the expansion of not-for-profit and public child care in Ontario. They are an organization that knows a lot about all the different steps necessary to expand child care services – planning, design, rules and regulations, financing. With their advice, I wrote a primer called How to Make Child Care Expansion Happen in Ontario, giving 10 recommendations for action in Ontario to make not-for-profit and public child care grow.
Briefly, they are:
- A system of capital grants and loan guarantees for not-for-profit and public operators
- Creating public planning mechanisms with provincial, municipal, school board and community members
- An inventory of publicly-owned lands and buildings suitable for child care expansion
- Mandate where possible the co-location of licensed child care services whenever business and housing developments happen
- Explore the use of Land Trusts to preserve the preservation of child care assets in public hands for future generations
- Use provincial legislation and regulations to control transfers of child care assets and ensure they are not controlled by big-box corporate child care chains
- Early guarantees of operational funding and licensing of not-for-profit and public operators that plan expansion following public plans.
- Development and implementation of a province-wide salary and benefits grid and much more funding to increase compensation of educators and other staff. Recruitment and retention of qualified educators is Job #1.
- Transparent and effective future funding guidelines to support expansion. Assistance to municipalities to implement financial accountability measures in a long-term funding model.
- Public funding of organizations such as B2C2 that support not-for-profit operators to negotiate hurdles associated with expansion of child care services.
It’s not rocket science. These are some obvious steps to help the necessary expansion of not-for-profit and public child care services. Parents and children will suffer when expansion doesn’t happen. Soon there will be long waiting lists to get into child care facilities in Ontario if the government does not act now.