Planning, Access and Inclusion

Children's Services supports children and families to grow and reach their full potential; planning for the future of child care and early learning around the needs of the community.    

Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan
Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan

The Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan outlines 16 strategic actions that are in progress working towards a more equitable approach within the Child Care and Early Years sector. 

Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan (Full Accessible Version)

Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan

The Access and Inclusion Plan is in response to recommendations and feedback from the community, as well as the Provincial Government's Access and Inclusion Framework for the early years. The Ministry of Education now requires each Service System Manager to develop an approach towards equity and the inclusion of underserved groups, including Indigenous, Black, Racialized, families experiencing low-income, and children with special needs.

The Access and Inclusion Plan identifies priorities within the broader Early Years Child Care System Plan 2022-2026. This also aligns with the Region's 2023-2027 Strategic Plan: Growing with Care to provide equitable services and opportunities in the community.

For updates and progress about the Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan, see the plan's EngageWR webpage.

We want to hear from you!

We are dedicated to hearing from our diverse community. If you have feedback or recommendations for Children's Services and wish to participate in our engagement sessions, please fill out the contact form, and we will book a time to meet with you or your organization.

Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan Summary

Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan Summary (Accessible Version)

Children's Access and Inclusion Plan Summary Page

Phase 1 Overview:

Children’s Services is proud of the work that has already begun as first steps towards creating a more accessible and inclusive child care system. The following summarizes both actions already underway, as well as actions planned for 2024.

Create more child care spaces

  • New growth strategy
  • Language and Mentorship Program
  • Indigenous child care and home child care
  • More overnight, evening and weekend child care

Create more welcoming and inclusive environments for children

  • Professional development for the whole sector
  • Equity and Inclusion Policies for child care
  • Evaluate the special needs service model
  • More supports for children with special needs in home child care

Remove barriers to accessing services

  • Subsidy Access Pilot
  • More inclusive policies in child care subsidy
  • Simplify payment processes - Region of Waterloo Home Child Care
  • New system navigators positions
  • Translate the parent guide

Collect more useful data

  • Collect race-based data for direct services
  • Improve OneList

Engage more with underserved communities

  • New engagement strategies
Subsidy Access Pilot

In September 2023, Children's Services launched the Subsidy Access Pilot with initial participation of 14 child care sites. Child care sites participating in the pilot will hold 20% of their spaces for children in receipt of Child Care Subsidy.

In addition, all new child care centres or classrooms will hold 30% of their new spaces for children in receipt of Child Care Subsidy.

As the demand for child care spaces grows, we have learned that families using Child Care Subsidy often face additional barriers to accessing licenced child care spaces. This pilot aims to improve equitable access for those families.

The Child Care Subsidy program helps parents pay for child care, so that they can go to work, school or possibly if they have a child with special needs. Find out more about Child Care Subsidy or apply.

Financial support provided through Child Care Subsidy is not the same as the fee reductions provided by the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Plan (CWELCC). Fee reductions through CWELCC are automatically applied to all children age 0-6 attending participating licensed child care. There is no need to apply for CWELCC. 

How families can be involved in the Subsidy Access Pilot

If you think your family may qualify for Child Care Subsidy make sure that your OneList profile is up to date and that you have selected, "I need help to pay my child care costs (subsidy)" in your application under the section, "Fee Subsidy".

Other than keeping your OneList account up to date, there is no additional application process to opt in to the Subsidy Access Pilot. The child care centres that are participating in the pilot will contact potential families during the time of enrollment and ask about their eligibility for Child Care Subsidy. If families have not yet applied for Child Care Subsidy, they will be asked to apply and let the child care centre know if they are eligible. 

Need Help Applying?

If you need help applying for child care on OneList or for Child Care Subsidy, you can reach out to the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Navigators through the YMCA at 519-741-8585 extension 3008 or visit the YMCA of Three Rivers - ELCC Navigators website.

Find out more about the Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan

Community Engagement for the Early Years & Child Care Event

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the Community Engagement for the Early Years and Child Care event at THEMUSEUM on May 16, 2024. Your input will help to shape early learning and child care in Waterloo Region.

If you were unable to attend, you can still share your thoughts on child care and early learning services by filling out an online survey.

Plans are also in the works to hold a second community engagement event in Cambridge this fall. Stay tuned for updates.

For updates and progress about the Children's Services Access and Inclusion Plan, see the plan's EngageWR webpage.

2022-2026 Early Years and Child Care Service Plan 

As the Consolidated Municipal Service Manager (CMSM), the Region of Waterloo Children’s Services is engaging in system-wide planning for licensed early learning and child care services. The 2022-2026 Early Years and Child Care Service System Plan will act as our road map for the next four years and is based on input from parents, service providers, child care operators and researchers.

Full 2022-2026 Early Years and Child Care Service System Plan (Accessible Version)

Executive Summary of the 2022-2026 Early Years and Child Care Service System Plan

 Early Years and Child Care System Plan 2022-2026

 

The system plan will provide a picture of our priorities and actions for the next four years to create a more accessible, affordable, high quality, equitable and inclusive early learning and child care system. By working with community partners and taking a strategic approach, we will work to ensure that Waterloo Region is a community where all children thrive. Please visit the Engage Waterloo Region website for updates on this initiative. 

2016-2020 Early Learning and Child Care Service Plan 

The 2016-2020 Early Learning and Child Care Service Plan is a road map for licensed early learning and child care services in Waterloo Region. The five key actions in it are based on input from the community. That includes child care operators, community partners and more than 1,100 parents.

Full Document
Summary
Service Plan Progress Update 2019
Service Plan Highlights 2019

Early Years and Child Care Profiles

The Early Learning and Child Care Profiles share key indicators for early learning and child care services in Waterloo Region. Comparisons to previous years help identify trends and changes. It also supports planning as we strive to ensure all children thrive in our community. 

2022 Early Years and Child Care Profile

2020 Early Years and Child Care Profiles

2018 Early Learning and Child Care Profiles

Early Development Instrument (EDI) 2018

EDI Summary Report

The Early Development Instrument results for 2018. A snapshot of children’s developmental health at school entry for Senior Kindergarten Students in Waterloo Region and across Ontario for the 2017/2018 school year.

5 Cycles of the EDI

A look at five cycles of the EDI results in Waterloo Region and across Ontario. 

EDI Data Portal

Children and Youth Planning Table
The Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region is a community-wide partnership that works towards maximizing the wellbeing of children and youth. The partnership includes service providers, researchers, planning bodies and funders serving children, youth and families.

We are dedicated to hearing from our diverse community. If you have feedback or recommendations for Children's Services and wish to participate in our engagement sessions, please fill out the contact form, and we will book a time to meet with you or your organization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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