The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will begin a review this month to improve child care in the province.
The review of the regulated child-care sector will focus on the quality of the programs provided to children, improved access to child-care centres and funding for centres.
“The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development wants to ensure Nova Scotia child-care operators have quality programs in place that meet the needs of all children to help them reach their full potential,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Karen Casey.
The department will be consulting with child-care centre operators and staff, family home day-care agencies and care providers, early education organizations, and other interested parties until March. The review will include an online survey, focus groups, and meetings with program providers and partners.
Based on the 2012 Early Years consultations and ongoing feedback from people working in the child-care sector, a number of areas were identified for further review, including:
— accessibility to child-care and early learning programs
— subsidy rates for families
— program quality in child-care and early learning programs
— wages and benefits for early childhood educators
— funding for programs and services
— access to professional development opportunities for those working in the early years field
— how to better connect regulated child-care programs with other early learning programs.
The review will help make child care more accessible to families, support operators in providing high quality programs that focus on child well-being and development, and support and develop the early childhood educators workforce.
Recently, changes were made to child-care regulations to better protect children by ensuring criminal record and child abuse register checks are in place for anyone working or volunteering at child-care centres.
Staff from the department will present a report and recommendations to the minister this spring.