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“Queen's University promotes shared responsibility of child care among parents, government and the University. As part of its commitment, Queen's views as important the availability and accessibility of high quality child care for the children of University students, faculty, and staff. Because the needs of the Queen's community are diverse, the University's role will be primarily one of facilitator, assisting students and employees to obtain suitable child care, rather than through the direct provision of services.”
Queen's recognizes that child care is a particularly critical issue in the lives of many students as they balance parenting responsibilities with academic commitments, as well as in the lives of faculty and staff as they coordinate work and family responsibilities. This information guide is intended to assist student, faculty, and staff parents in their search for child care in the Kingston area.
The intent of this guide is to make information about child care accessible; in no way is this booklet judging or assessing the various centres, agencies, and organizations listed within. Omission of any relevant organization should be considered an oversight and not a comment on the quality of services provided by that organization.
The information contained in this guide is current as of July 2010. Fees and policies are subject to change, and should be verified with the individual centres and organizations.
The Introduction section of the guide explains the type of child care providers available in the Kingston area. General features of each of the child care arrangements are discussed, and information regarding licensing and regulation is provided. In addition, charts explain some of the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of child care arrangements. This background information will enable you to determine which type of child care best suits you and your child.
Child care is a large expense for any parent. The Financial Resources section details the programs and tax cuts that a parent may use to help cover child care expenses. The Kingston area subsidy system is described in detail. Even if you don't qualify for a subsidy, there are numerous tax cuts for which almost all parents are eligible.
The next step is to find a child care provider. The Child Care Providers section contains detailed profiles of the different providers in the area. Day care centres, nursery schools, and private home care agencies are all included. The information is accessible in two ways: a map which lays the centres out geographically and a list which displays them alphabetically. If you are just starting out, the map view will be helpful in determining those centres which are within a reasonable distance of your home or work.
All of the profiles include contact information and, in most cases, a contact name. If there is no contact name listed, a request for “the Director” will usually get you to the right person to talk to about setting up an appointment. Once you have narrowed your list down to a few providers, you should start calling centres to arrange a meeting. You may also have to join a waiting list. Child care is always in high demand, particularly for infants. You should get on a waiting list as soon as possible. If more than one provider meets your needs then do not hesitate to join more than one waiting list. If you need subsidized care, make sure the provider is aware.
The local Ontario Early Years Centre (telephone: 613-384-1231) is a good place to start. They can provide you with information on how to judge the quality of care at different facilities. Currently located at the Limestone Advisory for Child Care Programs site, the local office is in transition. For changes in location or contact number, you should review the Ontario Early Years website for updates. Queen's students, staff, and faculty may also be able to find help at the Queen's Daycare Centre (telephone: 613-533-3008).
Finally, the Resources section includes citations for books, links to websites, and contact information for many community organizations. It also includes an alphabetical Child Care Phonebook that lists the phone numbers for all of the organizations that appear throughout the guide.
Many centres are equipped to accommodate children in wheelchairs or those who may require special resources. Before making a decision, however, it is best to investigate on your own. Some centres are both better experienced and better designed for children with disabilities. In particular, what qualifies as wheelchair accessibility may vary somewhat from centre to centre.
Support and funding for special needs are provided to various child care centres. Frontenac Club Daycare Program (telephone: 613-542-4018), has funding from Children's Services (telephone: 613-546-2695 ext. 4825) to support a full-time special resource teacher. Children's Services also provides support through Community Living Kingston (telephone: 613-546-6613). They will send a representative to your child care centre to educate the staff on how to better support your child. In cases of high need, a support worker may join the staff of the child care provider in order to help in the integration of your child.
Although some centres designate themselves as being free of a particular allergen, almost all will accommodate food allergies providing they have been told that your child has an allergy. If the allergy is particularly difficult to accommodate, you may be asked to provide alternative food. In addition, keep in mind that although staff will endeavour to accommodate the allergy, most centres are unable to guarantee an allergen-free environment.
There are several types of child care available in the Kingston area. (See tables at the end of this section for a look at some advantages and disadvantages of each type).
Day Care Centres
Day care centres are facilities which:
Nursery schools are facilities which:
Care is provided for children (3.8-12 years) before school (generally from 7:30 AM until school begins) and after school (from the time school ends until 5:30 PM or 6:00 PM). Activities are provided for the children, and a snack is offered in the after school program. Many school-age programs also offer full-day care for children on school holidays (i.e. Christmas break, March break, and P.A. days).
Licensed Home Care
Care is provided for children (from infancy to age twelve) in private homes that are approved and supervised by licensed private home day care agencies. No more than five children (including the caregiver's own) can be cared for at one time in these homes. No more than two of the children may be under two years of age, and no more than three children may be under three years of age.
Home care agencies:
Informal CareChild care is provided in a private home through an arrangement between parents and an unlicensed caregiver. No more than five children (excluding the caregiver's own) may be cared for at one time. Informal care can take many forms, including:
Day care centres, nursery schools, and centres offering school-age care must be licensed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in accordance with the Day Nurseries Act. In order to obtain and maintain a license, these child care facilities must:
More detailed information about licensed day care is available on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services website.
Home child care is regulated through private home day care agencies. These agencies:
The province does not license informal child care arrangements. As such, the caregivers are not required to comply with any standards or regulations, except to care for no more than five children at any one time. Parents are, therefore, responsible for any regulation, monitoring, or supervision of the caregivers.
The following charts summarize the general advantages and disadvantages of the different types of child care. They outline some of the issues that should be taken into consideration when searching for child care. Note, however, that depending on one's specific requirements, certain advantages or disadvantages may carry greater importance in one's final decision.
Licensed Child Care Centres (Day Care Centres, Nursery Schools and School-Age Care)
Licensed Home Care
Informal Care in Child's Home
Informal Care in Caregiver's Home