What's happening now?
During the fall of 2021, Children’s Services will finalize the 2020 Early Years and Child Care Profiles and finish analyzing and visualizing the data gathered through the environmental scan. Children’s Services is creating the strategic priorities and actions to further consult with the community and finalize the system plan.
What are the next steps?
Children’s Services is in the final stages of preparing the 2021-2025 Early Learning and Child Care Service (EYCC) System Plan for Regional Council approval. We are hosting two more community engagement sessions this month to inform the draft EYCC priorities and actions. We will use this feedback, as well as feedback from past community engagement initiatives, in the system plan to be submitted to Regional Council for Approval.
What's been done so far?
Internal regional staff consultations
In June/July small group consultations were held for regional staff within Children’s Services who work directly within child care subsidy, quality initiatives, business administration, and in management.
EYCC Community Partners Survey
In June, a survey for community organizations who are connected to the EYCC system or serve the children and families accessing programs was sent out to provide an additional opportunity for feedback. The Region has also met with community organizations to identify actions that will meaningfully address equity barriers in the early years and child care system.
Licensed child care operators (both centre and home based) Survey
A survey for local licensed child care operators was launched in May (centre based) and June (home based). The survey includes questions about challenges, strengths, program sustainability, suggestions for improvement, workforce challenges, inclusion and equity. The knowledge and perspectives of child care operators are essential for developing a plan that will have meaningful, positive impacts for the child care system.
Engagement with Special Needs Resourcing, EarlyON Programs, Professional Resource Centre
Interviews and focus groups took place from May to August 2021 with Special Needs Resourcing partners, EarlyON lead agency and Indigenous Led EarlyON Family Centre, Professional Resource Centre and Conestoga College.
Engagement with school boards: Engagement with the local school boards took place in May in order to get perspectives on strengths, challenges, barriers, and issues of equity primarily related to before and after school programs and child care/EarlyON programs within schools.
Waterloo Region Parent Survey: Our first step in the engagement process was broad engagement for all parents in Waterloo Region who have a child age 0 to 12. The survey closed on April 16th and over 2500 parents participated! This survey will help us better understand how well the early learning and child care system serves local families, what barriers exist, and where improvements are needed. This work will help guide us in our journey towards an accessible, affordable, high quality, equitable and inclusive early learning and child care system.