The Government of Manitoba has announced annual increases to the operating grant for licensed, home based child care providers to help recruit new and strengthen the stability of existing home based providers. Turnover is high in the sector and the number of licensed homes has been decreasing annually for years. For example, there were 551 licensed homes in Manitoba a decade ago and there are currently 418 licensed homes.
The last time the operating grant for licensed child care centres and homes increased was January 1, 2016, making it difficult for child care centres to increase staff wages and home child care providers without an increase to their income. The province sets the maximum fees that licensed facilities can charge and also controls the operating grant for those who are eligible and/or choose to take it. Facilities that don’t take or can’t get the operating grant can set their own parent fees. As of March 31, 2016 there were 14 non profit child care centres operating 1,045 spaces while waiting for operating grant funding. The 119 licensed homes with 864 unfunded spaces likely opted out of the grant so they could set their own parent fees.
As of March 31, 2016 there were 34,385 licensed spaces in Manitoba of which 31,338 were in licensed child care centres and 3,057 were in 425 licensed homes.
Recruitment and retention is also a problem in licensed child care centres where 2/3 of infant and preschool staff and 50% of school age and nursery school staff must be Early Childhood Educators with a degree or a diploma. Although thousands have been trained as ECEs, many have left for greener pastures and there is a shortage of those remaining in the sector. Most recent data reports that in March 2013, 26.7% of centres did not meet the licensing requirements for trained staff. Compensation continues to be well below research based market competitive wages so it is unlikely the shortage of ECEs has improved much in the past 4 years.
Home child care providers are required to complete a 40 hour orientation course in their first year of licensing, however some are also Early Childhood Educators. There is not ongoing professional learning requirement, however many voluntarily work toward the best practices recommendation of 24 hours per year. by attending works of
Posted by Jodie Kehl at 3:31 pm