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Spring Newsletter 2010

__________________________________________________________________________
Provincial Budget 2010
contains 63.5 million in core child care funding

After a spectacular amount of pressure from the community (11,000 names on the OCBCC petition) Premier McGuinty has committed $63.5 million in permanent funding in Ontario’s 2010 budget.

A crisis in funding for our Early Learning and Child Care programs was looming again! as core funding was due to expire March 31st and although we were given a temporary reprieve in May/09 with $18 million in “bridge funding” . . This Budget 2010 was critical !

Over the past several months the Province had been hearing from parents, advocates and our City partners -that Municipalities would have to start cutting subsidies as early as June 2010. And that, with the introduction of Early Learning Programs for 4 & 5s, we were heading for a total collapse of our child care system!

This government’s commitment of $63.5 million in permanent funding during a recession is a big deal! It tells us they do NOT want to loose Child Care subsidies on their watch. But the campaign also tells us that they are only going to act, when they feel the heat.

WE KNOW, the struggle is not over yet!

2009-2010 has been
Child Care’s Perfect Storm!

We have been reeling from one assault on our system to another .  . Enough Already!   . see .Pg 2

INSIDE . . . THIS NEWSLETTER:

•    The Provincial Budget 2010 pg 1
•    The City’s – Children’s Services Budget pg. 1 & 2
•    Councillor Joe Mihevc praises activists… pg.2
•    Child Care’s Perfect Storm . .  p.2 (including ELP for 4 & 5’s… Provincial underfunding… Proposed Changes to the DNA ?)
•    Growing Up Green

Toronto Child Care Raffle 2010 – a fabulous fundraising opportunity for YOUR program – Registration form enclosed

. . . .  City Budget 2010
hits Child Care in Schools!

The Children’s Services recommended Budget would see

Parent Child Care Fees SKYROCKET!

In the City’s Operating Budget (Feb) the Children’s Services Budget included a recommendation from Staff (that in order to find savings in their Department) the “Rental Agreement with School Boards be terminated”. This would be devastating to our child care programs in schools – Parent Fees would skyrocket. Programs would be destabilized and even be forced to close !

Our fragile Child Care system is already under extraordinary pressure as a result of Provincial   underfunding and the new Early Learning Programs in our Schools. Any further cuts to any programs is totally unacceptable and threatens the whole system with the usual ripple effect!
BUT thanks to YOU . . . . . .

The successful mobilization of your parents in the early part of this campaign, resulted in hundreds of phone calls and e-mails to the City’s Budget Committee, forceful deputations to the Committee, and excellent media coverage!
Resulting in the Full support of the City Politicians on Budget Committee who recommend: that the Rental Agreement with the School Boards (worth $5.8 million) NOT be terminated.    (see JOE MIHEVC below)

Councillor Joe Mihevc of the Budget Committee

* March 12 (excerpt from e-mailed response to community)

“ . . great news *today the Budget Committee recommended saving the childcare subsidy, and we expect that City Council will support that recommendation when it makes the final decision in mid April. The recently-announced budget surplus made this decision easier for all committee members, but I can tell you that your community activism put this issue high on the agenda, and because of that I believe it could have been saved regardless of the surplus. . . .

‘. . .On a related note, the Budget Committee also has recommended that $540,000 be spent to protect student nutrition programs and deliver the programs to 30 more schools. This means that more kids will get a proper breakfast and snacks to prepare them for learning. There have been many studies that show students learn and behave better when they are properly fed. I was particularly passionate about this issue, and am very happy the program will be funded.. . . . .”

IMPORTANT Upcoming Dates at the City’s Community Development and Recreation Cmte

The following meetings will each include Reports from Children’s Services

CDRC – April 23rd -  Middle Years Strategy

CDRC – May 26th – Children’s Service Plan

CDRC – June 26th – Provincial Funding and impact of Early Learning Programs on Child Care

The TCBCC will depute at each of these meetings

Enough Already!

We are keeping all the pressure we can on the Provincial government to get the answers and stability we need for Early Learning and Child Care in this Province – because we know you cannot continue delivering your programs with this much uncertainty in these areas:

>> Introduction of Early Learning Programs for 4’s & 5’s
>> Provincial underfunding of core child care system
>> Changes to the D.N.A. ? are they coming or not ?
>> and the Last Straw! . . .A broken City Budget

>>> the impact of Early Learning Programs for 4 & 5’s: . . .what will this mean for our children and families, as well as our ELCC programs?

The Premier’s announcement on the implementation of the Early Learning Program ELP (Oct/09) and the Min. of Education’s announcement on school sites (Jan/10). . . have left us all with many unanswered questions, leading to great anxiety, as we await more details from both the Min. of Education and MCYS.

From the Ministry of Ed: The Full-Day Early Learning Statute Law Amendment Act (Bill 242) has now been introduced. It addresses:
•    Core ELP obligations for School Boards
•    Designation and Recognition of ECE’s roles
•    Duty to Co-operate
•    Subsidies (may) be available

Deputations on Bill 242 were heard in March, and many in the ELCC community deputed, including the TCBCC. We stressed that the Proposed Extended Day does not meet the needs of:

Children: this is not quality care! There are high ratios and group size and NO plans for a nutritious meal and snacks!


IMPACT of Early Learning Programs

for 4 & 5’s: what will the impact be on our children and families, as well as our ELCC programs

Parents: the costs are high and subsidies have not materialized yet, and the program only operates 40 weeks of the year!
Our Child Care system: How are ELCC programs to remain viable if the 4s & 5s move over to the ELP’s and when will we hear about the transition and stabilization funding for child care that McGuinty promised in October 2009!

It is becoming increasingly clear that the two Ministries do not have a handle on this program yet. . . So WE must continue to give them our Best Advice! . . . Thank-You to all of you who are raising concerns – The pressure your questions create helps to influence the program as it evolves!

>>> Provincial Underfunding of Child Care when will we get the increase in child care subsidies / grants we so desperately need and the assurance of stable funding?

After a spectacular amount of pressure from the community, the  McGuinty has committed to …$65 million  in permanent funding in the 2010 budget – and that is a huge victory for our community.

But the struggle is not over yet: We won an important battle and that increases our strength as a community, but the Province continues to underfund our system and these pressures must be recognized:
•   Inflation costs (annual per diem increases) have not been recognised by the Priovince for 15 years! (the City continues to dip into reserves and without Provincial $$$s, will still have to cut 3,500 subsidies by 2012 (instead of 5,000!)
•   Transition and Stabilization funding – how much the ELCC sector is to receive has not been announced yet

•   Increased Wage Improvement Funding and increase other base funding for wages so that we can pay ALL staff fairly and retain ECE’s in the ELCC sector – without Parent Fees increasing

•    Pay Equity payments in the proxy sector need to be funded again

>>> Proposed  Changes  to  the  D.N.A. ?
At the very end of January the Ministry of Children and Youth held one (of two) planned consultations, with invited members of the ELCC community to unveil their “proposed changes to the DNA”, for “discussion and feedback”. The very negative response (the changes would compromise quality)     they received at this 1st consultation . . as well as the negative attention in the media and from the community at large . . . appeared to lead the Ministry to cancel the 2nd consultation – contacting those individuals one-on-one instead!
IF the Ministry intends to move forward with changes they are required to post the “proposed changes” for a broader consultation (on their website) for 30 days. . . . But two months later and they haven’t been posted yet. . . . Does this mean the ideas are Dead? . . . not necessarily !!!! We will continue to monitor this VERY carefully – and make sure that MCYS continues hears the concerns of the ELCC community.
AND. . .The Last Straw! For this season, was  >>> A Broken City Budget ! leading to  policy changes being driven by budget cuts!  (Rent Grants!)
Growing Up Green “Working together with our Early Learning & Child Care Programs and our Parent Community”

Allow us to introduce you to:

Small Wonders:
Designing Vibrant, Natural Landscapes
for Early Childhood

Published by Evergreen - a national non-profit environmental organization with a mandate to bring nature to our cities through naturalization projects

Excerpt from the Preface: Imagine creating a space for young children that evokes their sense of wonder and curiosity; a place that offers a rich variety of play opportunities; a place where children can fill their senses, make friends, explore the natural world and try something new every day. This book is about designing such places at the facilities where young children play and are cared for, such as child care centres and daycare facilities.

If you work with young children — whether as a daycare centre supervisor, a staff member or a parent — this book is for you. It describes Evergreen’s approach to creating vibrant, nurturing and safe outdoor spaces for young children, and it offers a framework for developing your own creative designs that serve children’s needs, as well as the needs of the staff and the community.

Throughout this book you’ll find questions meant to help you assess your own space, see its full potential and imagine the possibilities for a design that’s tailored to your specific site. It’s our hope that it will inspire you to envision, and then undertake, the transformation of your own early childhood play space.

This book was developed in great part by Troubadour Music (www.raffinews.com) and Universal Music (www.umusic.ca)
CHILD CARE
Essential for our Families – Essential for our Future

Purchase this very popular TCBCC Poster TODAY!  and support the important ADVOCACY work of the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care

The cost of this 20” x 20” Poster is:
$5.00 each or. . . $10 for three + postage handling $7.00
Contact us at:  416-538-7630 for more details

the annual child care Raffle

REGISTRATION:  MARCH / APRIL 2010
(draw date June 17, 2010)

Raise money for YOUR centre and support the important advocacy work of the TCBCC

Here’s How It Works

1.  The Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care handles collection of all prizes, printing and distribution of raffle tickets, all promotional materials, and obtains the raffle license.

2.  YOU organize your staff and families to sell as many tickets as possible! And then your program and the TCBCC split the proceeds 50/50.  The more tickets your centre sells the more money your centre makes.

3.   Exciting prizes include: weekend getaways, spa packages, Blue Jays tickets, restaurant and theatre packages and much, much, more!  (If you have any questions or can contribute to our prize list – just give us a call: 416-538-7630

Posted in Spring Update 2010.

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