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Child care needs to be accessible and universal [CA]

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Daling, Pauline
Publication Date: 
27 Jan 2006

See text below.


During the federal election campaign, the issue of child care has filled newspapers, been the focal point of news broadcasts and been a key issue in leaders' debates.

While each party leader may push for a different approach to providing supports for early learning and child care, one thing must be common between them: a promise that there will be a high quality early learning and child care system in Canada.

The QUAD principles, Quality, Universality, Accessibility and Developmental, must guide the writing of any child care plan.

Quality assures each child is in care that is regulated to ensure safety and an appropriate level of qualified staff.

Universal means programs are available to all, including children with special needs; and accessible means tthe program should be affordable for all parents and families.

By developmental, we mean the program must include early childhood development or learning that is integrated with care.

These four principles work together to drive the creation of sound child care policies. Research shows quality early learning and child care, combined with supported parental care, results in the best outcomes for children.

We need both - a system of quality early learning and child care programs and supported parental care - it is not a question of either or!

It's an investment that must be done right. As a leading advocate of early learning and child care, the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association urges all party leaders to remember that only child care based on the QUAD principles will produce the next generation of creative thinkers, innovators and community builders.

As the tough choices over child care are made, politicians need to consider these fundamental principles.

* Pauline Daling, Ontario Municipal Social Services Association

- reprinted from the Stoney Creek News