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Experts warn on federal-provincial child care agreement.

TORONTO -- Three education experts are urging caution as Ontario finalizes its child care plans with the federal government, warning that new federal funding for Ontario must be accompanied by a stronger policy framework than is now outlined in the province's Best Start Plan. Their comments appear in Early Learning and Care in the City: Update 2005, published by the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development.

George Brown College Vice President, Michael Cooke; Dr. Daniel Keating, outgoing chair of the Atkinson Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, (OSIE/UofT), and Dr. Marjorie McColm, George Brown's Director of Academic Excellence, point to these shortcomings:

* the continued separation of child care and kindergarten for 4 and 5 year olds;

* the absence of a central. authority to manage the scattering of services targeted to young children and families;

* no commitment to address compensation and the working conditions of the child care workforce;

* a continued reliance on subsidies to parents as the main funding source for programs;

* the ongoing insistence that municipalities put up an initial 20% in order to access new federal funding.

The province doesn't plan to move forward with Best Start however until the federal Budget clears all the Parliamentary hurdles. "Ontario's early learning programs have been waiting for new funds for almost a decade," said Mr. Cooke. "While we share the trepidation of the Budget process, we believe that the best defense is an offense. Ontario should move forward in a challenge to all the federal parties to meet their commitment to children."

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Title Annotation:CHILD & FAMILY
Publication:Community Action
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 20, 2005
Previous Article:Toronto child institute recognized for research work.
Next Article:Agreements on early child programs.

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