Why We Want a Not for Profit Child Care System by legalstuff1


									            Why We Want a Not-for-Profit Child Care System
What is the problem with commercial child care?

In a word – quality. Many studies over the past 30 years have demonstrated that public/not-for-profit child
care provides higher quality early learning and child care for children.
The biggest cost of a child care budget is staff salaries. In for-profit child care centres, the wages of staff
are lower and staff, are less likely to have professional development opportunities. When wages and
benefits are lower, staff turnover is high. It’s impossible to run a quality child care program without a well-
trained and stable staff team.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan have said no to for-profit child care. Several large municipalities in Ontario
also decided to direct their public funding to public/not-for-profit child care. After reviewing concerns
about quality of child care, Toronto, Ottawa and most recently, Sudbury have all decided to “grandparent”
existing for-profit operations but will not provide additional public funds to for-profit providers.

Can’t we just increase the standards so 123 Busy Beavers has to meet a higher

Ontario has minimum standards in the Day Nurseries’ Act. But a government license to operate child
care is like a public health clearance for a restaurant: it says it’s safe to eat here, but it’s no guarantee
that the food is good. Working with parents, public/not-for-profit programs strives to exceed minimum
health and safety standards to provide a stimulating, early learning environment for children. This is not
the case with corporate child care where the overriding concern of shareholders is a return on their
investment, not the optimal development of young children.
Abundant research documents that not-for-profit early learning and child care has better ratios of children
to staff and is more likely to exceed the minimum standards, with higher levels of trained staff, less staff
turnover, more on-going professional development and better programming and nutrition to meet
children’s needs. Public/not-for-profit programs are more responsive to the community, serving a wider
range of children including infants, children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and children with
special needs.
Like all forms of education, parent involvement is important in child care. The parent boards of directors
that oversee the operations of public/not-for-profit programs should have their own priorities for quality
early learning and care.

             Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care / Ontario Federation of Labour Tour, Spring 2008
                           For more information, please go to www.childcareontario.org
Good child care is expensive; poor care is a money-maker: How corporate child
care owners got rich.

In 15 years the owner of ABC Early Learning Centres of Australia went from one child care centre to
overseeing the largest day care corporation in the world. Now ABC is buying up child care centres in
Canada. ABC makes its money using a formula of fierce competition, high fees and poor wages and

High Parent Fees: In Australia, ABC bought up existing child care programs then undercut others until
they closed. With few other options open to parents the corporations have been able to push up fees.

Inadequate Wages: A public/not-for-profit child care program in Ontario will spend 85% of its budget on
staffing. ABC spends 50%, making profits at the expense of staff.

Low Quality: ABC cuts corners in all areas including food, program supplies and equipment. They also
lobby to have staff training requirements lowered and ratios of children to staff increased. 1

They Leave Out Lots of Children: ABC doesn’t serve kids it can’t make a profit off of. So you won’t find
ABC centres in rural and remote communities or serving children with special needs.

What Do We Mean by “Grandparenting”?
Over time, rules and legislation can change. To “grandparent” means to let an established business
continue, while the rules change for any new businesses. For example, in residential neighbourhoods,
existing factories or other industrial properties are allowed to continue, while zoning laws prevent a new
factory from establishing themselves in that neighbourhood. For commercial child care operators,
“grandparenting” would preserve existing licensing and funding arrangements for existing companies.

In November 2007, the Sudbury City Council passed a resolution that future public funding only go to
public/not-for-profit child care programs. In recommending that existing centres be “grandparented” the
report to City Council noted that:

“The City has a strong and positive relationship with 5 private owner/operators of licensed child care in
Greater Sudbury that have been developed over many years. However, this type of child care is a
difficult fit for the child care system that the City envisions for the future. The potential conflict where the
City provides direct operating funding grants to private, for-profit operators makes is more difficult to
move forward the vision of child care as a publicly-funded system of early education, accessible to all
families.” 2

    The ABC of Child Care Politics, D. Brennan, page 220

    For Profit Child Care in Greater Sudbury, Page 3


                 Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care / Ontario Federation of Labour Tour, Spring 2008
                               For more information, please go to www.childcareontario.org

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