Greater Sudbury eyeing 200 early child-care spaces to help vulnerable kids
Plan looks to reinstate pre-2013 levels of child-care spots
Greater Sudbury city staff are hoping that more than 200 new child-care spaces will be opened in the city, helping kids from low-income families make the adjustment into elementary school.
Monique Poirier, the city's manager of children's services, presented a report to council Monday night outlining her department's plans to bring subsidized child-care back to pre-2013 levels.
That's the year the province gutted many child-care programs, turning the funding over to the Ministry of Education.
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"The EDSR (Early Development/ School Readiness) program is specifically for families on Ontario Works and Ontario Disability," Poirier said. "They are our more vulnerable clients, and they come from very low income families."
"They are the children we will often see have more developmental delays and challenges," she said. "Having them in a licensed child-care program with licensed staff has helped tremendously."
Poirier said that provincial cuts in 2013 affected EDSR, as the program went from offering child-care services five days a week to part-time and half days to "stretch those dollars and try to serve as many kids as we could without discontinuing the program."
The program did suffer, though. Enrolment shrank from 135 children in 2013 to just 47 kids this year.
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The city also closed the Junior Citizens centre as a result of the cuts.
The city's new plan comes as the province pledges to create 100,000 more child-care spaces with help from the federal government.
Meanwhile, Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown recently announced his party's intention to refund up to 75 per cent of daycare costs if elected.