Improving Access to Services for Young Children and Their Families
Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres to Offer a Full Suite of Services
Ontario is delivering on its commitment to make access to child and family programs easier by announcing the launch of Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres. These hubs will offer parents and their children a suite of high-quality early years programs, as well as local services tailored to their communities.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the White Oaks Family Centre in London to announce the creation of Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres. The province currently funds four programs that offer a variety of services at different locations:
- Ontario Early Years Centres
- Parenting and Family Literacy Centres
- Child Care Resource Centres
- Better Beginnings, Better Futures
These four programs will be transformed and combined into one suite of integrated services as part of Ontario's early years modernization plan. Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres will be more convenient to use and easier to navigate. They will provide a common set of core services, as well as the flexibility to provide additional, customized services to meet local needs. The transformation process will start immediately, with Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres in place in 2018. Until then, families will still be able to access current services.
These centres will offer parents and children:
- Enriching early learning experiences for children under 7 and their families and caregivers, with trained staff and a variety of engaging materials on site
- Family programs and workshops on topics such as child development, parenting and post-partum support
- Engaging drop-in programs where children and families can connect with friends and neighbours from their communities
- Information and referrals to specialized community services.
Helping families access high-quality support programs is part of the government's four-part plan for Ontario and delivers on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- The government currently invests more than $97 million annually in child and family programs in Ontario.
- Since 2004, the government has doubled child care funding to more than $1 billion annually.
- Since 2003, the number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown to nearly 351,000 — an increase of 87 per cent.
- In April 2015, the province announced $120 million over three years in new funding dedicated to building safe, high-quality, licensed child care spaces in schools across the province.
- The province has already allocated more than $80 million of this funding, resulting in 2,901 new licensed child care spaces coming to communities across Ontario.
- In August, the Child Care and Early Years Act was proclaimed to strengthen oversight of the province’s unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options.
“The early years can be the most rewarding — and the most stressful — for a young family. As Premier, one of my essential duties is building an Ontario where everyone has the opportunity to flourish at every stage of life. By making access to programs and resources more convenient and easier to use, we are investing in the hopes, dreams and aspirations of parents and caregivers, and building a more prosperous future for our children.”
“We want to give children the best possible start in life — and we’re committed to supporting parents so their children can learn, grow, and develop. Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres will help build an early years system that is high quality, seamless and accessible for children and families.”