With nearly 30 children facing eviction, parents and child care advocates urge Trustees to work with them to secure stable funding and space
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 13, 2015) - Parents and child care advocates are today urging the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustees not to evict nearly 30 children from a Forest Hill-area child care facility.
"In the long run, shutting down Alternative Primary School Daycare and Nursery (APS) will do nothing to address the issue of overcrowding in schools and will only further degrade a child care system desperately in need of more spaces, not fewer," said Carolyn Ferns, public policy and government relations coordinator for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC).
APS serves 85 preschool, kindergarten and school-age children. The facility has been informed by TDSB that they will be evicted from the space central to the functioning of the day care's programs. The Board has cited a shortage of space at North Preparatory Junior Public School. APS was organized by a parent group and located at North Prep by the school board almost 40 years ago as a way of maintaining a viable enrolment level. Over the years, successive parent groups have invested substantial human and financial resources in ensuring that the community had access to high quality child care.
Ferns called on Trustees to reconsider the decision to evict at their board meeting which takes place today. Parents, OCBCC representatives, and other child care advocates plan to attend today's board meeting to make the case to protect quality child care spaces.
"The province just committed $120 million to help create 4,000 child care spaces across Ontario. Rather than eliminating quality child care spaces, we feel there is an opportunity for the board to work with families, staff, and OCBCC to secure stable funding that doesn't displace quality child care," said Ferns.
Jane Mercer, Executive Coordinator of the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care, believes the recent policy and funding announcements from the Ministry of Education provide direction and opportunity for the TDSB to work more effectively to support child care programs. "The families of APS Daycare and Nursery absolutely depend on this day care to participate in the workforce and to provide for their families. It is imperative that the TDSB work to find a real solution with their community partners in our community schools."
Yoram Faitelson, a parent whose child attends APS, said the loss of the spaces would be a "terrible blow to our family and to the neighbourhood."
"Every neighbourhood, including ours, has an urgent need for quality child care spaces," he added.
Renowned child care expert and researcher Martha Friendly, who was instrumental in helping to found APS nearly 30 years ago, urged Trustees to "do the right thing and work with their partners in the community to preserve quality child care spaces in Toronto."