From the month of April, the quebec government will limit the number of children of more than 18 months in the nursery.
The government returns to a measure adopted a few years ago aimed at facilitating the integration of infants in subsidized child care and the CPE. This change, which will come into force next April, worried greatly the Association québécoise des centres de la petite enfance (AQCPE) and the Association des garderies privées du Québec (AGPQ), who speak of a “significant decline” might have an impact on the parents and reduce the problem of ” infants of the spring “.
In may 2012, the minister for Family of the time, Yolande James, said proudly that ” the problem of the infants of the spring [was] settled “. In a press release, the liberal minister announced a measure giving ” greater flexibility to the CPE and subsidized childcare in the management of groups of children, which will have the effect of avoiding that the parents of babies born in the spring should be penalised in their search for a place in child care “.
She was responding to numerous complaints from parents, received by his department in respect of the lack of places in nurseries for children aged 15,16 or 17 months. Child care is not in hiding and not even several flatly refused to the children born between the months of march and August because they resulted in financial losses.
It is important to know that Quebec provides higher grants for places in the nursery, because the ratio of child to educator is higher. However, at the time, from the time a child reached the age of 18 months, Québec, financed out of place as if he was in a group of ordinary. However, in practice, it often remained in the group of babies, because the groups are formed in September and few seats become available before the next year when the oldest go to school.
Children over 18 months of age therefore find themselves “stuck” in the groups of babies, because there is no place elsewhere, but the grants of Quebec were not, which represented a funding gap for child care. These last, therefore, had no interest in accepting the babies that were going to reach the 18 months in the course of the year.
Quebec has attempted to resolve the problem by adopting an “administrative tolerance” in order to extend funding of the children in the nursery up to the age of 23 months. But the problem persisted, because with the extension of parental leave, which now spans 12 months, the children were coming from more aged to the nursery. And what are the babies in the spring, who came to the nursery in September at the age of 15, 16 or 17 months that were the most affected, has found the ministry of the Family in a report published in the spring of 2012. The authors wrote that the extension of the tolerance until the age of 29 months ” might influence the decline in the propensity presumed to be of some providers of child care services to be reluctant to accommodate infants to older “. So this was done.
However, six years later, Quebec is coming back back on this measure. In effect, managers of care services have learned in the past the rules of the occupation that there will be a limit on the number of children who will benefit from this tolerance. And the department does not go down the limit to 23 months, as was previously the case, but 18 months. Thus, in a nursery of 10 seats, only four children will be able to have more than 18 months, otherwise the daycare will end up in deficit. Yes, there will still be a little room to maneuver, and recognize the managers of child care facilities, but it is insufficient, because the number of children older than 18 months is generally higher than this, as evidenced by the departmental report of 2012.
In fact, the study showed that about 15 530 children between the ages of 18 to 23 months of age were subject to an administrative tolerance, or 61 % of the children in the nursery. “Almost all the nurseries subsidized (97.8 per cent) have at least one case of administrative tolerance in the course of a year “, noted the ministry.
To this are further added, since 2012, the children from 23 to 29 months. The ministry believed that about 2030 children would be affected by the extension of the administrative tolerance, 8 % of children in the nursery. The annual cost of this measure was estimated at $ 17.5 million.
In terms of stability, we lose the educational value, and it is there that we are worried about
The director-general of the AQCPE, Geneviève Bélisle
“The preliminary data from our internal survey show that this would affect a significant number of our CS, and the amounts withdrawn could amount to a few thousand dollars per facility,” says the director-general of the AQCPE, Geneviève Bélisle.
“The administrative tolerance, it meet a need,” she adds. This would be a setback. “
Ms. Bélisle believes that it may lead to a domino effect with a greater number of “manipulations” in the composition of all the groups. “In terms of stability, we lose the educational value, and it is there that we worry about. “
For his part, the president of the Association des garderies privées du Québec, Samir Alahmad, believes that children and their parents will be the first to suffer from the decision of Quebec. “Child care services will adapt, they will start to refuse children. They will say to the parents : “you put your child to the nursery to 8 months maximum in September, otherwise it is not taken”. It’s going to touch the parents, and not just about. “
The ministry of the Family, we explained that this change to the rules of occupation by a desire to offer a better quality service for these children. “The situation is not ideal for children who remain in the nursery while they have far surpassed the age to integrate an older group. They do not have the benefit of an educational program and materials adapted to their age and do not take advantage of the stimulating effect of the interactions with children their age “, says the spokesperson of the ministry of the Family, Alexander Christmas.
But AQCPE, it is estimated that this is an argument that does not hold the road. “Normally, it should not be of educational value to be less, because there are all kinds of possibilities to organize the physical environment and interactions to provide educational value to older infants,” says the director general, Geneviève Bélisle. We can secure a corner with a small table for older kids, have puzzle more complex, and a wedge adapted to their needs. An educator who is familiar with the development of the child will be able to put the good educational environments, it should not be a problem. “