Parents will have a more difficult time getting reliable information about child-care services when the city shuts down a dedicated referral line later this year and transfers the responsibility to 311 operators, child-care advocates warn.
Child Care Information is a city-wide service, with six trained early childhood educators providing information over the phone (and later by email) about the wide array of options available to parents and families in the city.
Last year, they responded to more than 60,000 information requests.
Advocates in the child-care sector say they were in the dark and fear 311 operators won’t be able to provide the kind of specific answers that parents have come to rely on from the current information line.
“311 also deals with potholes and my neighbour’s dog is barking and the frat house down the street has left their couch on the front lawn; they don’t have the background or the education to counsel parents in terms of child care and appropriate programs for their family or child’s needs,” said Melanie Coyle, a child-care adviser who recruits, screens and coaches home daycare operators for Cityview Centre for Child and Family Services.
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