Thursday, 4 October 2012

Even the Losers (Get Lucky Sometimes)

A couple of days ago Chris pulled a clip for me from a news article about daycare subsidy (or lack thereof) in the City of Toronto because he knew I'd be very interested and spirited about the content.*  Essentially this report from July 2012 says that, More than 21,000 children are on the waiting list for subsidy with a system that only serves 20% of Toronto children under age 10 and subsidies are only available for just 28% of families in low income families.**

What does this mean?  Well a lot of things, for one a lot more families are having to rely on smaller home run day cares, as well as the help of family, nannies, nanny sharing or are forced to remain at home.  In worst case scenarios families are arm wrestled into placing their children into illegally run day cares where they will receive no tax credit for what they pay, with no regulation surrounding the care for their children and possibly little retribution should anything go awry.  Do you really want your child to end up in Fight Club, Toddler Edition, this time it's personal?***
Even the Giving Tree or The Hollow Tree in this case can't help boy find suitable daycare.

Financial restrictions aside the wait lists on accredited daycare in Toronto are brutal, I have had many friends and acquaintances go on waiting lists before they even announce their pregnancies or conceive, only to not get in and scramble for alternative resources, or make the cut by the skin of their teeth.  Serendipitously we lucked into our coveted two daycare spots by fluke, just 6 weeks before I returned to work because two families in the infant room moved and the facility had to whip through the waiting list to find a family who could accept on such short notice.  We went from 32 and 33 on the list down to 1 and 2 in a matter of days.   We won the child care lottery.****

Subsidy aside the sheer panic I felt surrounding care for our kids this summer was unreal.  Having a daycare that engages, nurtures and facilitates Molly and Jack's growth was paramount to relieving some of my highly anticipated working mom guilt.

The amount of research, waiting and frustration that a parent has to do to get care for their children is ridiculous, so I've put together a list that I hope many parents and prospective parents find helpful in facilitating appropriate child care for their minions.  I know that doing the research was only a small part of the battle, but having a list of resources in one place would have been helpful in navigating the world of paid child care.

Canadian/Local Resources

Find a Sitter or a Nanny:
We used this resource to find our 3 regular sitters and were really thrilled with the results, they are lovely, professional and genuinely care about our children.  You can search and list by formal qualifications, experience and even location if you want someone who lives close to you.  Tip - don't post your phone number, unless you want a prospective sitter (who we didn't hire) calling you at 6AM on a Saturday morning.  Remember to interview and check references and figure out the best fit for your family.

Find a Nanny Share:
 I haven't used this resource but it looks promising and is available for those living in major Canadian cities.

Parental Guide to Licenced Daycare in Toronto:
Includes ways to find out if your child care facility is licensed, what to look for in a centre, questions to ask and some limited information about home child care.

Alphabetical Listings of Licensed Daycare Facilities in Toronto:
This is a great way to verify if a local daycare is licensed, however only facilities that have fee subsidy are rated.  Also, use the rating to raise any red flags, but don't dismiss a daycare based on the rating.  Our daycare had good, but not great ratings, but was the right fit for the minions.

How to Apply for Subsidy in Toronto:
This is how you apply, but don't hold your breath....Apparently getting subsidy in Toronto is like finding Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket.

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*Sometimes Chris likes to poke the mama bear...poke, poke, poke...GRRRRRR!
**For further details of the report click here:
***Obviously this is an extreme situation and not the norm at daycare:
****We were on several waiting lists, some of which we paid $50 just to get placed on from the time I was 5 months pregnant...Essentially it took us 16 months to get daycare...without the added barrier of applying of the lists I was on wouldn't even return my calls when I enquired about our spot on the list, even after paying to be there.

1 comment:

  1. And if you couple daycare shortages and costs with the lack of affordable housing, you're pretty much screwed. requires a paid membership? Eww.

    I've also had some luck with