Parents must do homework on daycares

Midtown child centres explain why due diligence is important

For parents-to-be there’s an additional thing to worry about in preparation of stork’s arrival: daycare.

But it’s not just about placing your child on a waiting list. It’s also about getting your child’s name on the government subsidy.

Representatives from both the Bessborough Child Care Centre, in the Bayview and Millwood area, and West Prep Child Centre at Allen Road and Eglinton have placed emphasis on starting on your childcare plan as early as possible.

Bessborough’s supervisor, Jodi Kageyama, says to get on it as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

Board member Kathleen Goldhar echoes that sentiment.

“You have to get your name on a list a soon as you can,” she said in a recent phone conversation. “There’s not really a best
way. It’s the only way.”

It’s also important, Goldhar adds, to do your homework.

“(The daycare) needs to look clean, the kids have to look happy, and you need to drop in any time to make sure there are no rules when you can drop by or when you can’t.

“Obviously it’s good to get recommendations from people who have been there before.”

Travel across midtown to Forest Hill, and you’ll find Rose Bozza, who admits the reason why parents are on the waiting list is because they have not yet been approved for a subsidy.

To find out whether you’re eligible, go online to toronto.ca/children and in the calculation section enter your income and your
rental expenses.

The application will process the information and display a number that lets you know.

“If you’re having a child, I would put that on your No. 1 list right now,” Bozza said. “The subsidy waiting list is pretty crazy.”

In order to be eligible for the subsidy you have to be a resident or employee of Toronto, be employed or in school, and file an income tax return if you receive the universal child care benefit.

Toronto also provides families with an online resource that allows them to find the right place, the programs offered and the
quality.

But Bozza places emphasis on parents going to the daycare for some initial, in person reconnaissance.

“I suggest parents go and visit,” she said. “That’s the first thing.

“Obviously check things out online, but you’d be surprised how many families call us and ask if they can start tomorrow and they
haven’t even visited us.”

She said parents should also make sure that centres are okay with you dropping in, because if you need to make an appointment, “that’s a bit of a red flag.”

The provincial government also has a checklist, found at www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/steps.html, for parents to use when seeking out the right facilities for their little ones.

Another point, raised by Goldhar, is be sure to check on availability. Bessborough provides services only during the school year, and to kids 2½ and up. West Prep goes all year round. However, both facilities provide those services only to children attending the school.

Finding care for your baby in Toronto can be a tough search for parents who don’t want to take maternity or paternity leave for the entire year.

“Depending on if you want infant care, there’s not a lot of it around this area, so put the family name on the list as well,” Bozza said, adding West Prep just lowered its starting age to 2.

Still, seeking a daycare to handle your little joy should not be an overly taxing affair for parents who get on it early.

“Daycare is wonderful for kids, I think,” Goldhar said. “It’s a great place where they can get to socialize and learn to get along with other kids, and find some independence.”


About this article:

By: Brian Baker
Posted: Oct 21 2013 3:32 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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