Things that make daycare complicated

As reported last week, the Weston Village Childcare has given layoff notices to its staff. They will lose their jobs—and the children will lose their spaces—in June, unless a new space can be found.

I’ve been speaking and emailing politicians, their staff, and Kim Cross, the director of the centre. As you might expect, it’s a complicated issue. The facts—and correct me if I’m wrong—are these:

  • The childcare employs 9 full-time staff, 3–4 part time staff, and has space for 36 children.
  • There are no other licensed group daycares in the village area.
  • Westminster is trying to sell the church to another faith group, who, obviously, may or may not want the childcare to stay

There are many difficulties in finding a new space:

  • There are regulations, some of which were written after the current space was found. Windows need to be so wide, and there need to be so many fire exits. There has to be an outdoor play space, and so on.
  • Not all  spaces will be suitable. Almost all daycares have separate rooms for different ages, for instance, and 36 kids require a lot of toilets.
  • And it needs to be affordable. Daycares run on a shoestring.
  • Any new space would, ideally, be within walking distance of the daycare. Buses are, at the very least, a pain.
  • Weston Memorial is full to the gills.
  • The before-and-after program at Weston Memorial has an impossibly long waiting list, and is only for children old enough to be in school.

These difficulties rule out a number of places:

  • The new community centre is too far away, and not yet built.
  • The postal station is too old
  • Most (maybe all) of the other churches in town are not up to code.

Politicians (and their representatives) have called and emailed me to assure me that they’re working on the problem. It’s a big one: the presbytery¹, the daycare board, the city regulators, the management, the school(s), and politicians must work together and be lucky.

I remain hopeful. We cannot go from hope to despair without passing through struggle. With enough people and pressure, things can be made to happen:

  • An exemption might be made to the codes until a new place is built or found
  • Perhaps the presbytery can find some way to give the daycare an extension.
  • The new owners can be shown the importance of the daycare to our community
  • Benefactors might be found who will buy the church and use it for a community, sports and arts centre—and daycare.²

 

 

¹ You learn something every day.

² How can we make this happen? Seriously. That’s what I want.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

9 thoughts on “Things that make daycare complicated”

  1. your blog really is a great community resource, especially when it elaborates like this and help people with analysis of issues. thank you.

  2. Adam, the daycare issue is a reflection of all that is wrong with Weston and clearly demonstrates why we countine to remain at the bottom is terms of housng value, and general view across the city. Politicians say they are helping??? We have insufficient daycare, we have no community centre, Weston Rd is a mess, schools are old in the community and lack appropriate programs! I have seen some of the politicians at work in Weston and they clearly act only to get a few votes and nothing more. I have been to other community meetings and there has been no results……
    I have read some other postings, and read about a $1.2 million from Metrolinx…..where is this money and why is not being used to attract a YMCA?
    Has Chris Tonks sent out proposals to parents to get a before and after school program going at Pelmo and Weston? St. Johns had this program. Politicians do nothing but simply make comments and lay low.

  3. and buses are fine…..i know plenty of daycares that bus kids to a number of schools including the daycare my child goes to. There are options yet the politicians need to make it happen for the greater good, not just because they want a vote next election. One lie after another.
    I went further back in previous postings…..Adam you say Weston Memo is an old school, someone posted previously to build a new school by merging Pelmo and Weston…..some were like we will fight this……well wouldn;t it be nice a new larger school on a large green property with a new daycare????
    No vision….and look at the end results.

  4. Hello Adam and fellow readers,

    I just want to provide further information with respect to the TDSB’s involvement on this very important issue.

    TDSB was approached a couple of month’s back about whether the TDSB had any space that could be leased at a local school in the Weston community. Unfortunately, the current enrollment pressures and utilization rates at Weston Memorial, HJ Alexander, Pelmo Park, CR Marchand, and Weston Collegiate are such that TDSB does not have surplus space to offer to Weston Village daycare. We are operating at or beyond capacity at these local schools.

    We were advised of the decision to close by Weston Village daycare last week. All TDSB schools since the beginning of March have been sending out surveys as to parent demand for a Before and After program for JK/SK children. The Ministry of Education has directed school boards to offer Before and After Care on a cost recovery basis, where 20 children register for the program. TDSB is not funded to run Before and After Care programs, or that of daycare programs. The current rate that TDSB offers before and after care programs, on a cost recovery basis, is $32.00 per day approximately. Parents who recieve child care subsidies from the city of Toronto, can apply it to the Before and After program.

  5. Currently, there are Before and After programs that are operating at Weston Memorial and HJ Alexander for Grade’s 1 to 5, and these programs are run by 3rd party provider Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF). LEF is a great local social service agency, that run many daycare and Before and After programs in many TDSB schools from the old city of York. TDSB staff is currently working with LEF to see whether they can provide the Before and After programs at Weston Memorial for the JK/SK children. Similiar cost structure and subsidy rules to apply if LEF runs the program. LEF may also run the program even if 20 children are not registered for the program. In any event, we have had a positive response in terms of confirmed interest by parents from the surveys that were sent out, and more information will be coming out to parents as soon as humanly possible given the recent developments.

    Although this does not solve the issue of daycare for parents who have children that are not yet school age, TDSB will do everything possible to provide options for parents in terms of Before and After care for the JK/SK children. It is my hope that whomever purchases Westminister United Church, they will continue to allow Weston Village daycare to continue their lease in order to serve parents of the Weston community. It is the best option given it is situated in the heart of the Weston community.

  6. This is day care, Mr Tonks, not supplementary care, although that was also part of the day care’s work. Passing the buck to TDSB, LEF and anyone rather than actively working with politicians to make needed space for needed daycare spaces available is exactly the kind of inaction that eventually people notice.

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