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Deputation on Child Care to the Community Development and Recreation Committee KPMG Core Service Review

 

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, Chair
And Members, Community Development and Recreation Committee

RE: CD6.1 Core Service Review
Children’s Services

Child care is not an expense, it’s an investment.

It’s an investment in children, families, communities and the future of our City.

The KPMG Core Service Review of Children’s Services before the Committee today has classified the delivery of directly-operated child care and quality inspections as non-core services. Parents who took part in the City’s survey and public consultations had the opposite point of view, as did The Commission for Early Learning and Child Care that identified Toronto’s Children’s Services, of which child care is the core service, as one of the City’s competitive advantages.

Child care is a core service – and a vital one.

The City of Toronto needs more child care centres and resources. Not one space, one subsidy, one dollar, can be cut from Children’s Services. The option of cutting over 2,000 fee subsidies should not even be on the table.

 The number one issue for parents across the City is the quality of care for their children. Quality is even ranked above other important factors such as availability and affordability – and that’s what City-run child care centres deliver consistently – quality care for kids.

The staff at municipal child care centres is highly trained and can handle the many challenges children and families face. Children’s Services is the one place families with special needs children can go to find qualified care, and know they won’t be turned away.

Municipal child care centres have been delivering quality care for over 50 years, and the City of Toronto has been recognized as a leader in child care services.

Children’s Services is mandated by City Council to provide child care for children at risk in the poorest neighbourhoods. City-run child care centres in underserviced parts of the City help to stabilize communities and give children and families a chance to succeed.

There are a large number of extensive studies that show quality child care is good for children, especially those who may be at risk for social or economic reasons. Child care is a strong component of economic development, poverty reduction and social inclusion.

Research findings point overwhelmingly to “quality” in their daily environment as the biggest predictor of positive outcomes for children – an example of a positive outcome is school readiness. Children who are ready to learn when they start school are more likely to complete school and graduate. All the research backs this up – if you get them into quality care early enough, the long term effects are lasting.

We don’t need another task force on child care. We know what we need – adequate, stable funding from the Ontario and Federal governments so the City can continue to manage and operate a quality, accessible child care system. The City shouldn’t be blamed for the child care crisis, but City Council should be actively pressing the province for stable funding, so the City can continue to deliver the services our children and families need.

Child care is central to providing support to children and their families. Parents today use child care to support their participation in the workforce, to pursue education or training and to balance work and family responsibilities.

The options for savings put forward by the KPMG Review of Children’s Services only serve to prove the point that there is no gravy to be found in Children’s Services at the City of Toronto. If the City walks away from its responsibility to provide care for the poorest children in the City, it will save little, and hurt a lot of children, families and communities.

I urge City Councillors, in the strongest possible terms, to listen to parents and your constituents and do everything in your power to stabilize and build our City’s child care system.

There’s a lot at stake here.

 

Yours truly,

 

Ann Dembinski

President

 

 

 

 

 

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