Hastings County is in line to receive extra funding to help with child care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provincial and federal governments will provide $1.39 million to help the child care sector adapt to the COVID-19 environment.
The county will provide money to licensed child care operators, both centres and home-based, before and after school programs, EarlyON Child and Family Centres.
Director of Community and Human Services Erin Rivers told a virtual meeting of the committee on Wednesday that the money will be used for the centres as well as as after school programs throughout the county.
“Within our area there are actually 32 before and after school programs across the county that we do not directly operate but will also be in contact with and help flow that funding through, based on their individual needs.”
The county operates four centres but there are 32 other service providers across the county that the county does not operate.
They have indicated they will use the money to hire additional staff for cleaning and to support health and safety requirements.
All the centres are open except one that has not yet determined its needs.
The committee report outlines how the money is to be used:
Funding will support the province’s procurement and delivery of face coverings to operators and licensed home child care agencies to comply with the Ministry of Education’s requirement for all educators, essential visitors, and placement students to wear a mask and eye protection (e.g. shield).
In addition, funding will be provided for purchasing additional personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves etc.), enhanced cleaning, additional staff to meet health and safety requirements, support for short-term vacancies and minor capital required to meet Ministry or local public health requirements. Through the SRF fund, Hastings County Children’s Services will be seeking additional Early Childhood Education (ECE) supply staff for its four (4) directly operated before and after school programs to assist with the daily screening of children and enhanced cleaning requirements.
As Service Manager, Hastings County will be required to track and monitor expenditures and data including the number of licensed child care centres and licensed spaces, number of EarlyON Child and Family Centres and number of home child care agencies and homes supported by SRF.