Australia has a large child care industry, however in many locations (especially in inner-city suburbs of large cities and in rural areas) the availability is limited and the waiting periods can be up to several years. The Australian government's Child Care Subsidy scheme provides generous assistance with child care costs, but this still leaves many families with a large out of pocket expense. The median weekly cost of centre-based long day care in 2013 was approximately A$364 which puts it out of the reach of lower income earners.
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The Office of Children and Family Services provides support for people and organizations interested in starting child day care programs in their communities. As a general rule, any child day care program planning to serve three or more children for more than three hours a day on a regular basis must obtain a license or registration. Before becoming licensed or registered, the applicant must show that the proposed child day care program meets requirements established to promote the health and safety of children in care.
We recognize that there are good reasons to make changes in early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ontario. But we believe that these must be based on the best available evidence about what is of most benefit to children and families; we argue that these proposed changes are not. Additionally, we suggest that changes in ECEC in Ontario will continue to have negative effects if they continue to be “piecemeal”.
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