Toronto parents concerned over potential closure of respite child care

Community Nov 28, 2017 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

With child care spaces already at a premium, a group of Toronto parents met at Scadding Court Community Centre on Monday, Nov. 27, to speak out against the loss of a number of emergency child care – or respite care – spaces.

The respite care, which has seen as-needed child care on a sliding scale linked to income offered at 17 provincially-run EarlyON child and family centres, is slated to see its funding come to an end at the end of 2018. That would leave many families who need occasional child-minding services in the lurch.

“Right now, I’m on mat leave and it’s just me in the house (with a young daughter),” said concerned parent Samantha Jardine. “If I have a physio appointment, I can’t bring her with me and it can be impossible to find a babysitter. I wouldn’t know what to do without (the respite care services.)”

The respite care program gives parents a safe place to send their children when they have job interviews or appointments, or sometimes when they simply need a break. Rates can be as low as $2.50 per hour, and parents do not need to pay for more care than they use.

“The fact of the matter is that traditional, licensed child care programs don’t work for all people and all families,” said Brenda Morse, the co-ordinator of child care and family resource programs at Scadding Court. “We’ve been allowed to have up to five children that we look after, and it’s something a lot of families need.

“I think the fact it’s been running for 30-some years shows it’s needed.”

Catherine Moher, manager of the Gerrard Resource Centre, which also runs an EarlyON centre, wondered whether the fact the child care is unlicensed may have led to its defunding. Other EarlyON programs, such as drop-ins for families, remain funded.

“We’re not licensed, but we are publicly monitored — 25 parents are watching what we do with children every day,” she said.

Laura Minniti noted that her work hours do not require her to enrol her children in full-time daycare, adding that if she did, the higher costs of that daycare would make working virtually pointless.

“With the cost of traditional child care, I would just be working to pay for that,” she said. “Working more wouldn’t mean more money. It would mean less time with my kids.”

Both Jardine and Minniti called the respite care program a “godsend” for parents who need a temporary reprieve from child minding for an hour or two, or a day or two, here and there.

Moher added that another parent who benefited from the service needed an occasional break from her colicky baby while she worked on her PhD.

“She would drop her baby off and go home for some much-needed sleep or to finish a paper,” she said.

Trinity-Spadina MPP Han Dong, who attended Monday’s meeting with parents, promised to discuss the matter at Queen’s Park in the hopes of finding a way to reinstate funding.

“I’m going to find out what the rationale is behind this,” he told the concerned parents and caregivers. “I see this program has great value, and I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.”

The MPP also promised to present a petition the caregivers are circulating calling for the program’s funding to continue. The petition is circulating at the EarlyON centres.

Toronto parents concerned over potential closure of respite child care

As-needed services offered at 17 Toronto centres

Community Nov 28, 2017 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

With child care spaces already at a premium, a group of Toronto parents met at Scadding Court Community Centre on Monday, Nov. 27, to speak out against the loss of a number of emergency child care – or respite care – spaces.

The respite care, which has seen as-needed child care on a sliding scale linked to income offered at 17 provincially-run EarlyON child and family centres, is slated to see its funding come to an end at the end of 2018. That would leave many families who need occasional child-minding services in the lurch.

“Right now, I’m on mat leave and it’s just me in the house (with a young daughter),” said concerned parent Samantha Jardine. “If I have a physio appointment, I can’t bring her with me and it can be impossible to find a babysitter. I wouldn’t know what to do without (the respite care services.)”

The respite care program gives parents a safe place to send their children when they have job interviews or appointments, or sometimes when they simply need a break. Rates can be as low as $2.50 per hour, and parents do not need to pay for more care than they use.

“The fact of the matter is that traditional, licensed child care programs don’t work for all people and all families,” said Brenda Morse, the co-ordinator of child care and family resource programs at Scadding Court. “We’ve been allowed to have up to five children that we look after, and it’s something a lot of families need.

“I think the fact it’s been running for 30-some years shows it’s needed.”

Catherine Moher, manager of the Gerrard Resource Centre, which also runs an EarlyON centre, wondered whether the fact the child care is unlicensed may have led to its defunding. Other EarlyON programs, such as drop-ins for families, remain funded.

“We’re not licensed, but we are publicly monitored — 25 parents are watching what we do with children every day,” she said.

Laura Minniti noted that her work hours do not require her to enrol her children in full-time daycare, adding that if she did, the higher costs of that daycare would make working virtually pointless.

“With the cost of traditional child care, I would just be working to pay for that,” she said. “Working more wouldn’t mean more money. It would mean less time with my kids.”

Both Jardine and Minniti called the respite care program a “godsend” for parents who need a temporary reprieve from child minding for an hour or two, or a day or two, here and there.

Moher added that another parent who benefited from the service needed an occasional break from her colicky baby while she worked on her PhD.

“She would drop her baby off and go home for some much-needed sleep or to finish a paper,” she said.

Trinity-Spadina MPP Han Dong, who attended Monday’s meeting with parents, promised to discuss the matter at Queen’s Park in the hopes of finding a way to reinstate funding.

“I’m going to find out what the rationale is behind this,” he told the concerned parents and caregivers. “I see this program has great value, and I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.”

The MPP also promised to present a petition the caregivers are circulating calling for the program’s funding to continue. The petition is circulating at the EarlyON centres.

Toronto parents concerned over potential closure of respite child care

As-needed services offered at 17 Toronto centres

Community Nov 28, 2017 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

With child care spaces already at a premium, a group of Toronto parents met at Scadding Court Community Centre on Monday, Nov. 27, to speak out against the loss of a number of emergency child care – or respite care – spaces.

The respite care, which has seen as-needed child care on a sliding scale linked to income offered at 17 provincially-run EarlyON child and family centres, is slated to see its funding come to an end at the end of 2018. That would leave many families who need occasional child-minding services in the lurch.

“Right now, I’m on mat leave and it’s just me in the house (with a young daughter),” said concerned parent Samantha Jardine. “If I have a physio appointment, I can’t bring her with me and it can be impossible to find a babysitter. I wouldn’t know what to do without (the respite care services.)”

The respite care program gives parents a safe place to send their children when they have job interviews or appointments, or sometimes when they simply need a break. Rates can be as low as $2.50 per hour, and parents do not need to pay for more care than they use.

“The fact of the matter is that traditional, licensed child care programs don’t work for all people and all families,” said Brenda Morse, the co-ordinator of child care and family resource programs at Scadding Court. “We’ve been allowed to have up to five children that we look after, and it’s something a lot of families need.

“I think the fact it’s been running for 30-some years shows it’s needed.”

Catherine Moher, manager of the Gerrard Resource Centre, which also runs an EarlyON centre, wondered whether the fact the child care is unlicensed may have led to its defunding. Other EarlyON programs, such as drop-ins for families, remain funded.

“We’re not licensed, but we are publicly monitored — 25 parents are watching what we do with children every day,” she said.

Laura Minniti noted that her work hours do not require her to enrol her children in full-time daycare, adding that if she did, the higher costs of that daycare would make working virtually pointless.

“With the cost of traditional child care, I would just be working to pay for that,” she said. “Working more wouldn’t mean more money. It would mean less time with my kids.”

Both Jardine and Minniti called the respite care program a “godsend” for parents who need a temporary reprieve from child minding for an hour or two, or a day or two, here and there.

Moher added that another parent who benefited from the service needed an occasional break from her colicky baby while she worked on her PhD.

“She would drop her baby off and go home for some much-needed sleep or to finish a paper,” she said.

Trinity-Spadina MPP Han Dong, who attended Monday’s meeting with parents, promised to discuss the matter at Queen’s Park in the hopes of finding a way to reinstate funding.

“I’m going to find out what the rationale is behind this,” he told the concerned parents and caregivers. “I see this program has great value, and I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.”

The MPP also promised to present a petition the caregivers are circulating calling for the program’s funding to continue. The petition is circulating at the EarlyON centres.