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Home sweet home? An evidence-based analysis of licensed family home childcare in Manitoba

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Prentice, Susan
Publication Date: 
21 Sep 2016



This report provides an evidence-based analysis of regulated family home childcare in Manitoba, examining features associated with the quality of care experienced by children and parents as well as of the job experience of care providers. Family home childcare supplies nearly 3,1000 spaces or about 1 in 10 of Manitoba’s licensed spaces. The report explores variables related to stability, turnover, access, parent cost, and other regulable features of structural quality, drawing on provincial Annual Reports (2001 - 2015) and univariate, bivariate and multivariate analyses of a provincial administrative data set (2004 - 20013). Among other findings, the report found high turnover: the annual closing rate is 13.7 percent annually and less than one in seven homes remained open over the whole study period. Half of all homes close in four years or less, and the rate is higher in rural areas. Provincially, there are wide variations in closing and turnover rates: for example, a home in the Eastman region is 72 percent less likely to remain open than a home in Winnipeg. Across Manitoba there is wide variation in the rate of trained early childhood educators: about six in seven home providers are untrained, and the training rate drops in some regions. Close to one-third of family homes do not accept provincial funding, resulting in higher fees that shut out low-income subsidized families. Homes where the provider is likely taking care of her own children close at higher rates than homes where the provider’s own children are not present. Compared to centres, family homes are disproportionately over-represented in quality breaches. The analysis is situated in the context of Canadian and American research, and generates important issues for public policy and planning initiatives. The findings reported here raise serious doubt about the ability of the sector to provide quality reliable care for children and their parents and problematize the capacity of the sector to provide good employment and work-family balance for family home care providers.