The death of 14-month-old Duy-An Nguyen has childcare advocates calling for tougher laws with respect to private home daycare facilities and a coroner's inquiry into the matter.
April Luckese, 35, who owns and operates April's Daycare on Asta Dr., is charged with second-degree murder in Duy-An's death.
April's Daycare has been operating as an unlicenced childcare provider since 2007, when it was dropped by a licenced agency called Kiddie Kare Inc., which trains and monitors childcare workers.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), meanwhile, is calling for a coroner's inquiry into the death and a full investigation into the systemic conditions that leave parents with no choice other than unlicenced and unregulated childcare facilities.
"Baby Duy-An's death in unlicenced childcare is a tragedy that no family should endure and our hearts go out to them," said Marie Kelly, secretary-treasurer of the OFL.
"We hope that this wake-up call will cause the Ontario government to introduce appropriate security measures and safeguards in all childcare facilities."
The safest option for parents is a licenced, regulated environment, but high fees and lengthy waiting lists leave many with no choice, the OFL said.
"The death of any child deserves a full investigation, but when it is the system that has let us down, we need full answers and appropriate policy changes," said Kelly.
"Ontario needs a properly funded and fully-regulated childcare system in order to ensure that no other family is faced with this tragedy."
Marnie Flaherty, president of the Home Childcare Association of Ontario, said she'd like to see all home daycares work with a licenced agency that offers support to caregivers and makes regular visits to ensure health, safety and quality standards are met.
"We don't let people run restaurants without licences," she said. "Why are we letting private homes with children in there run a business without regulations?"
There are about 60 licenced home childcare agencies, like Kiddie Kare, in Ontario.
The government doesn't licence individuals, but when private homes work under these agencies, they're considered licenced and must follow the Province's Day Nurseries Act. They must also follow more stringent rules.
Childcare providers are required to provide care to no more than two children under two years of age, and three under five years. Unlike private unlicenced operators, this includes their own children.
Flaherty said she'd prefer all childcare providers be licenced.
- reprinted from Mississauga .com