Province expects 375 additional child-care spots to open soon


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Manitoba families in need of child care services can expect to see nearly 400 newly licensed spaces opening up in their communities in coming months, the provincial government announced Monday, with more to come down the road.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/07/2015 (2570 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba families in need of child care services can expect to see nearly 400 newly licensed spaces opening up in their communities in coming months, the provincial government announced Monday, with more to come down the road.

After launching the Family Child Care Project as a pilot program last fall, the provincial government gave an update Monday committing to continue funding the project and touting the success of its first small batch of graduates. Since September 2014, the project has provided support and assistance to Manitobans who want to start their own licensed home daycare.

The free program is delivered by Family Dynamics, a local community agency offering child care supports for Winnipeg families. It involves 40 hours of training in an introduction to family child-care course at Red River College, a 35-hour positive discipline course, and 40 hours of business training at Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg. There are workshops on licensing requirements, mentoring with a licensed child-care provider, and home visits.

After launching the Family Child Care Project last fall, the Manitoba government gave an update Monday, saying nearly 400 child-care spots are on the way across the province. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“Parents require quality child care that’s accessible, flexible and affordable,” said Pam Zorn, executive director of Family Dynamics in a Monday press release. “Licensed family child care homes give Manitobans more viable options, while representing an excellent business opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in early childhood education.”

Since it launched, four students have graduated from the program, with 29 currently enrolled and 50 more registered to start this fall. That translates to 83 new licensed home daycares, and, if they all operate at capacity, 375 newly licensed daycare spots for Manitoba kids.

The provincial wait list for spots in child care facilities is now at around 12,000 names, said Pam Wege, executive director of the Manitoba Child Care Association. That’s the longest it’s been since the launch of the provincial online registry for child care in 2011, Wege said.

As the percentage of Manitoba households with two working parents increased in recent years — now at just over 70 per cent, the third-highest in Canada — the number of licensed home daycares has decreased. Wege said that downward trend might come down to the “arduous” process child care workers must go through to meet Manitoba’s stringent licensing standards, or the long hours and sometimes “isolating” nature of running a daycare at home.

Kevin Chief, provincial minister of jobs and the economy, spoke at a press conference Monday at the home of Irina Kuzmenko, one of the program’s recent graduates who now owns a child care service. Like Kuzmenko, the vast majority of the program’s students are new Canadians — 88 per cent.

“I worked for five years in child care centres and daycare, but I knew I wanted to start my own business,” said Kuzmenko, who came to Canada from Ukraine in 2009. “I’m very proud of what I have accomplished, and I love the families I work with.”

Adetoro Eludipo sent her two-year-old son Adedire to Kuzmenko’s daycare when the wait for child care through the online registry was just too long. She said she was “very happy” and “very relieved” to find a licensed child care provider in her neighbourhood who could take Adedire right away, and has seen “a lot of changes” in his social skills since he started there.

“We know the message has been clear from families,” Chief said Monday. “It’s about affordable child care, healthy places, more spaces — that has been the message, loud and clear … And that’s what this program is doing.”

— With files from Carol Sanders


Updated on Monday, July 27, 2015 7:04 PM CDT: Write-through

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