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Setting Up Local Day Care Centres

Deanna Wuttunee

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE/JULY 1980      v10 n6&7 p23  
Participation by Indian parents in day care services is increasing.

The Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre Day Care Council has established the first centre in the province which has an all native staff, and board of directors.

Regina is in the process of researching, and is preparing to open a centre.

Indian parent involvement and participation in the eight day care centres in Northern Saskatchewan is 80 per cent, according to Carol Wilson, a day care development worker in La Ronge.

Individual commitment and interest is crucial to establishing and maintaining the operation of a day care centre, says Louise Fox, co-ordinator of the Day Care Services Division of Social Services in Saskatoon.

To maintain the high standards of childcare, new day care centres must be parent-controlled and must incorporate into non-profit co-operatives or societies. Thus, 51 per cent of the board of directors must be made up of parents utilizing the child care services of the centre.

Any parents interested in forming day care centres should get in touch with social services in their district. A day care development worker will assist you in understanding the policies of the provincial day care regulations. The Department of Indian Affairs also has resource people available to assist you.

A needs assessment will have to be carried out to determine whether or not there is a demand for such a service in the community. Facilities will have to be found that will meet the requirements of a centre and that will pass the inspection of the health department.

A start-up grant of $400 per child is available for equipment, supplies, renovations, and alterations. There is an additional $500 annual equipment grant, as well as a special monthly grant for the equipment for, and care of, handicapped children. Parents may apply for subsidies based on family size, income and the day care fee. However, this subsidy is available only to parents whose children attend licensed centres.

A good bookkeeping system and a board of directors will have to be established, equipment purchased and job descriptions written up.

A family may apply to be licensed as a family day care home. These are located in private residences, where the provider cares for a small number of children.

Subsidies are applicable in this situation, and some providers will accept the children of shift workers. There is a $100 grant available to providers for toys and equipment.

Day care centres, family care homes, nursery schools, and foster homes can enrich a child's life experience. Increasing participation by Indian parents in day care centres may expand to these areas. It can prove to be an enriching experience for the parents as well.