Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Extended day programs in 2010 in the GTA - The actual numbers

Yesterday, the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development released a report on the economic impact of full day early learning. Written by economist Robert Fairholm of the Centre for Spatial Economics, the report identifies considerable financial benefits to the province. It states that for every $1 that the province invests in full day early learning, there is a $2.42 return. However, the report also states that the full financial return is dependent upon the provision of not just the full day kindergarten component but also the extended day program.

You can find the full report on the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development website.

There was considerable take-up in the press about the report, including articles in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

Of note in the August 30, 2010 article in the Toronto Star by Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter, was the information about how few schools providing full day early learning in September 2010 will also be operating extended day programs(before- and after-school):


Public & Catholic Boards

Schools offering full day kindergarten

Schools offering before- and after-school programs




York Region



Peel Region



Halton Region



Durham Region



It is our understanding that in Peel Region the Board has entered into a contract with third party providers to operate the extended day program in the six schools where it will be available and that the Board is not operating these programs directly.

As has been discussed in previous blog entries, there are a multitude of reasons why the take-up for the extended day program has been minimal. There is every reason to anticipate that some of the inevitable glitches of implementing a program of such magnitude will be resolved as the roll-out of full day early learning proceeds. Come September 2011, there may be a significant increase in the number of schools where the extended day program is available. However, this outcome is, for now, uncertain.

In the interim, this delay in schools providing the extended day program provides the licensed child care sector with opportunities to explore how the child care sector could work collaboratively with the education sector to offer truly seamless, integrated programs for children and their families.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Subsidy Arrangements for Extended Day Care

Over the summer months a number of important announcements were made that move the introduction of full day kindergarten forward. Perhaps most significantly, the regulations regarding subsidy for the extended day (before and after school) programs have been determined and released.

This blog entry reviews the subsidy arrangements for extended day care. Please see 2010 EL 9 for further detail.

There are several key components:

  1. The subsidy system for the extended day program will be managed by local Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs). This means that school boards located within the City of Toronto will enter into a contract with the City of Toronto Children's Services Division.
  2. Children currently receiving subsidy in the licensed child care system will be able to transfer their subsidy to the extended day program. Families with children in both licensed child care and the extended day program can be subsidized in both systems.
  3. The fee subsidies for the extended day program will be 100% provincially funded unlike much of the existing subsidy system where costs are shared 80/20 between the province and municipalities. (It is interesting to note that this is the same funding model as was set for the Best Start program which is also 100% provincially funded.)
  4. To maximize the subsidy funding available, school boards are asked to set before school/after school and combined before and after school rates.
  5. Extended day programs are governed under the Education act so CMSMs are not expected to set additional quality standards or to monitor these programs in the way the licensed home and group child care programs are currently monitored in most municipalities.
  6. The per diem rate will be established on a school board by school board basis, not on a program by program basis as is the case for the licensed child care sector.
  7. Existing CMSM waiting list policies will apply to the extended day programs in those situations where the demand for subsidy exceeds the available funding. EL9 explicitly states: "A limited number of subsidies are available for eligible families." (2010 EL9, Page 1)
  8. Existing income testing requirements will apply to eligibility for the extended day programs.
  9. It is our understanding that in the City of Toronto, Children's Services Consultants are meeting to review existing kindergarten per diem rates with those programs where kindergarten age children will be attending full day kindergarten. We understand that kindergarten rates will be recalculated to a maximum of the existing preschool rates. This does not apply to many programs this year as one of the criteria in determining where the full day kindergarten program would be offered includes avoiding schools with existing child care programs either on site or close by.

It is important to note that there has been very little take-up of the extended day program by parents across the province. Recent conversations with government officials suggest that fewer than five percent of schools where full day kindergarten is being introduced will offer the extended day component. This is certainly true in the city of Toronto.

It is difficult to determine if the lack of demand for the extended day program is a consequence of delays in the release of the regulations, the projected cost of the before and after school program or the fact that parents who may have required extended day care are happy with the arrangements they already have in place.

In all likelihood, it is a combination of all three. As explored in earlier blog entries, the extended day program is to be offered on a cost recovery basis. The average per diem rate has now been projected at between $25 and$35 dollars which is historically high for before and after school care in the Toronto area.

In September 2010, 35,000 four and five year old children will begin full day kindergarten. This is approximately 15% of the all four and five year olds in the province. It appears that the vast majority of these children will continue to be cared for by a parent or relative, by an informal, unlicensed provider or in the licensed child care sector. It remains to be seen as the program rolls out over the next several years, how much progress will be made towards a seamless, truly integrated early learning and care model.