Lanark County authorities have announced that they will not be offering an explanation for suspending its subsidy to Natural Connection Child Care, a local daycare service. It was disclosed last week that the county has opted to cease funding under the Canada-wide Early Learning Child Care program (CWELCC).
The county issued a statement explaining that for an agency to sustain a contract, they must adhere to requirements outlined in the Child Care and Early Years Act, as well as maintain adherence to its service agreement with the county. Lanark County has confirmed the termination of its contract with Natural Connections but has declined to offer a reason for this decision. The termination is deemed confidential according to the statement issued by the county, further mentioning that other County CWELCC contracts will remain unaffected.
This development is set to influence approximately 50 daycare providers throughout the region, impacting areas including Ottawa, Lanark County, Leeds and Grenville, and Clarence-Rockland.
In response to this abrupt change, Natural Connections Child Care relayed a message to parents last Friday, stating that starting September 7, its daycare centers would no longer be beneficiaries of the $10-a-day child care program subsidy. Executive Director, Kelli Cassidy, voiced her surprise at the sudden cut, expressing her shock and sorrow regarding the termination of substantial funding affecting their 280 families and 47 providers across four municipalities. The organization confirmed that it has lodged complaints and continues actively striving to support the impacted families and providers.
The impact of the funding cessation reaches the services’ users directly, including parents like Amber Ethier, who now faces a daycare expense doubling from $30 to $62 per day. For many families, an extra $600 monthly expenditure is unfeasible. It forces them to deliberate between remaining committed to their current daycare arrangement or seeking alternatives.
The providers themselves are feeling the ripple effect of this predicament. Licensed daycare provider, Cathy Kennedy, recounts losing a family due to the increased cost. Concern is rampant amongst her clients, unsure about the financial implications this may bring. Kennedy contemplates the unwelcome potential of having to shutter her daycare, the thought of which, after twenty years of dedication, is heart-wrenching for her.
In reaction to the cloud of uncertainty, Lanark County pledges its commitment to offer support to local families and providers during this substantial transition, acknowledging the possibility of needing to seek alternative arrangements to maintain access to CWELCC funding.