What is this Service?
Municipal Children’s Services divisions plan and manage their local child care system, focusing on the integration of government initiatives, inter-agency coordination and the development of quality programs and services for children and their families.
Municipalities are mandated by provincial legislation under the Day Nursery Act as Service System Managers to plan, direct and deliver child care services.
Specific objectives include:
- Providing a continuum of quality community-based services accessible to children, their families and caregivers
- Fostering partnerships with the community in planning and service delivery integration to ensure equitable access to high quality child care for children and support for families
- Providing financial support to eligible families to enable them to participate fully in employment, training and developmental opportunities
- Innovating and building on leading practices
- Demographics: Population density and dispersion will vary by municipality. The cost of providing services, in certain areas, to certain populations, will be impacted by unique local and regional factors, such as population and population growth, and low income.
- Licensed Spaces: The number of licensed spaces is driven primarily by demand, demographics and population and secondarily by the availability/alacrity of operators to open or expand their current spaces and the Ministry of Education in licensing the spaces. Municipalities can influence growth in spaces; however, given the current Provincial system, Municipalities do not control the licensing framework and therefore, do not independently direct or drive strategic growth in the supply of licensed spaces.
- Mix of Child Care Spaces: This can be driven by the cost of care; for example, some operators will not provide infant care as the staffing costs can make this less financially viable/lucrative than providing care for older children. The cost is primarily driven by staffing costs. The DNA requires three staff for 10 infants vs. 3 staff for 15 toddlers.
- Funding: Provincial funding is the main determinant of the level of service. Recent changes to the Provincial funding formula will impact service levels. Municipal funding beyond the DNA cost-sharing requirements also has an impact on service levels.
- Data Availability: The census data used to develop these outcomes is not always current and projections are not always accurate. LICO (Low Income Cut-off) and Child Population measures are impacted. LICO (Low Income Cut-off) information provided by the Ministry is outdated and difficult to use. Census data is not updated annually which can cause challenges.