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Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Program

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Bellringer, Carol
Publication Date: 
16 Jan 2013

Excerpts from the news release:

Chapter 4: Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Program

The Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Program oversees child care (often called day care) services provided by licensed child care centres and family home providers. It is administered by the Department of Family Services and Labour. The audit examined the Department's management of the Program, including its systems and practices for planning and performance measurement, ensuring compliance with child care standards, and providing financial support to eligible child care facilities and families.

The Department developed a 5-year (2008-2013) plan for child care and publicly reported annual progress on the plan's key commitments. Legislated child care standards were in place and the Department monitored compliance with them by inspecting all licensed child care facilities annually. Most facilities met the standards by the time their annual licences were renewed, but about 25% received provisional licences because they did not meet all legislated requirements. Licences were posted in facilities and on the Department's website, but standards violations listed on licences were not clearly identified and described. The Department did not publicly disclose the overall level of facility compliance with key standards.

The Department's preferred approach was to work with facilities to help them comply with standards, and to only consider issuing licensing orders or revoking licences when it deemed this necessary. But there were some gaps in its monitoring and enforcement activities. It did not
always adequately follow up violations noted during inspections, perform the required number of monitoring visits, or ensure activities were sufficiently escalated for repeated or serious violations.

The Department did not have adequate processes to deter or detect family home providers operating over the allowed 4-child (at any given time) limit without required licences. Nor did it always adequately follow up the complaints it received about unlicensed providers, although it was taking steps to correct this.

Inconsistencies in the way staff conducted inspections, followed up violations, and issued licences, need to be addressed. The Department also needs to improve its processes for determining facilities' inclusion support funding, and correct errors and inconsistencies in the way it calculates operating grants, inclusion support payments, and parent fee subsidies. The Department was beginning to address some of these issues by developing new staff orientation and training materials, improving supervisory reviews of licensing packages, and reviewing and revising its inclusion support funding procedures.