The region wants feedback as it looks to create a more inclusive child care plan.
Waterloo region is releasing phase one of a new child care plan that aims to be more inclusive and now, staff want to hear feedback from the community.
Kristen Bustamante, manager of special projects for the region’s children’s services, said they want to respond to the growing number of parents who say they have challenges accessing child care in region, especially parents in communities that face additional barriers.
“We know we have a crisis there in terms of the number of spaces and in terms of our workforce,” he said.
“We want to really respond to that and really do some of the things that we’ve heard and implement some new strategies to make access to child care more equitable.”
The Region of Waterloo manages child care services locally and manages policies and funding distribution.
Bustamante said that although the region has closed child care centers, it still operates a licensed home child care program with more than 300 caregivers and 1,500 children. .
Bustamante said under the first phase of the new regional plan, they are trying to better understand how families can learn about child care options, how they can access them and who those who cannot access it.
He added that only 32 percent of children in the region have access to child care and the implementation of the $10-a-day child care program by the federal government will help expand the number of places that available.
“We have about 920 additional spaces and we are on track to open about 1,400 additional spaces by 2026,” he said, adding that additional investments to get more workers are needed to staff the more spaces.
Bustamante said that the next step is to implement phase one of the plan and engage with parents and families to get their experience and recommendations for the second phase.
“We will go back to individual conversations in our community with parents and guardians and want their input either individually or as a group in a community,” he said.
More information about the child care plan is available on the region’s website.
LISTEN | The Region of Waterloo is looking for community input on the next phase of its inclusive child care plan:
The Morning Edition – KW7:08The Region of Waterloo is looking for community input on the next phase of its inclusive child care plan