Still no reply….

March 28, 2008

You may recall that April and Jane , our Co-Chairs wrote to Sarah Henry in the Department of Social Services seeking answers to many questions regarding the complex issues that we are currently dealing with in relation to child care and early learning.  We asked for a reply by March 7, 2008 for the following reasons:

  • The government’s own fast track schedule for changing the act
  • If the department had done the required research to consider any changes, all that we asked for should be ready and pose no problem.

On March 7, 2008 we received the following reply from Sarah via email.

Good morning Jane and April,

Thank you for your letter, and interest in the Child Care Facilities
Act and Regulations. A response is being prepared and will be mailed to
the address provided.

I look forward to our continued conversations about supporting children
and families in Prince Edward Island.

Sincerely,

Sarah

Sarah Henry
Early Childhood Services
Department of Social Service and Seniors
Province of Prince Edward Island
161 St. Peters Road, P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PEI      C1A 7N8
Tel: (902) 894-0260
Fax: (902) 368-6169
Email: skhenry@ihis.org

Well it is now March 28, 2008 and still nothing has come to us via email or regular mail, despite several follow-up attempts.  Guess it is time to step things up a bit…

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Trust – The Key to Power & Government

March 7, 2008

What happens to a government that can not be trusted? At best, they become immobilized at worst…..

Many Islanders wonder about what went on when the Kindergarten decision was made. Many fear conflict of interest in the process to change the Child Care facilities Act – all the actions of the department so far suggest that it is not being straight with us.

So in an attempt to regain trust, our co chairs wrote last week to Sarah Henry in the department of Social Services asking her to  give the public the information about what is going on in child care that would be expected to be already well tabulated and understood to suggest any such changes.

Our co chairs asked for this information to be ready by today.  The short deadline was determined by:

  1. The government’s own fast track schedule for changing the act
  2. If the department had done the required research to consider any changes, all that we asked for should be ready and pose no problem.

Well it’s Friday and we are looking forward to getting our reply today. Email will work just fine


Trust and Full Disclosure

February 28, 2008

So here then is a test of good intentions and of trust. April Ennis and Jane Boyd, our co chairs have written to Sarah Henry, who has the file, and asked her for the following information. The full text of the letter dated Feb 28 is attached in pdf form below.

We have asked Sarah Henry to reply by March 7th – the tight deadline is driven by the department’s own tight deadline.

We are asking for the information that any valid and authentic process of consultation would have offered up as a matter of being professional. An analysis based on such information would have been given to every MLA  after the Minister would have had a thorough briefing prior.

This is what a professional public servant would think is routine.

Here is a summary of the questions:

In February 15, 2007 a press release issued from the Premier’s Office, indicated the following:

  • There are approximately 8500 children between the ages of 0-5. There are 4800 licensed child care spaces on PEI.
  • 82% of the child care spaces are occupied. This would indicate that 3936 children between the age of 0-5 are in licensed childcare programs.
  • 80% of mothers with children aged 0-5 are in the labour force. That would indicate that approx 6800 are in need of child care services.

Based on the above please clarify the following points for us:

Where are the approximately 2000 children (6800-4800) aged 0-5 being supported if 80% of mothers with children ages 0-5 are in the workforce? Is unlicensed child care fulfilling this need? How many unlicensed child care spaces are currently on PEI?

2. During a recent CBC interview, Kathy Jones stated that “there are 67% presently of our early childhood centres that are operating below their license capacity”.

  • If 82% of the child care spaces on PEI were occupied as of February 15, 2007, what percentage of child care space spaces are currently occupied? How many spaces are unoccupied at the moment?  How and why have these numbers changed over the past year?
  • If there are 67% of centres who are operating below capacity, how many children are on waiting lists at the 33% of child care centres that are full? Please provide us with details how the 67% was determined.

3. During the February 27, 2008 public consultation meeting you made reference to “increasing good outcomes for children” on PEI. How are these outcomes currently being measured? What time period are the children monitored for ongoing development? Please provide us with information on both the tools that are being used to measure these outcomes and a copy of the most recent report regarding the findings of this measurement.

4. At the February 27, 2008 public consultation, there was reference made to the “phase(s)” of the consultation process. Can you please provide a thorough explanation and timeline of each phase of theChild Care Facilities Act and Regulations consultation process?

5. Is the consultation process (as of February 27, 2008) the same as what it was at the onset of the initial consultation as identified in the February 25, 2008 memorandum from the Department of Social Services and Seniors. If not, why and how has it changed?

6. What is the legislative procedure for the Child Care Facilities Act and Regulations to be amended during the sitting of the House?

7. Is it still the intention of government to table the proposed amendments during the upcoming spring sitting of house? If so, is there sufficient time to give the consultation process a fair chance?  Please provide us with a specific date as to when you expect the
proposed amendments to be tabled.

8. What amendments of the Child Care Facilities Act and Regulations have been proposed to date by your Department? What is the reasoning and research behind each of the proposed amendments?

9. At the February 27, 2008 consultation meeting you quickly showed a slide which gave an overview of which Provinces have “shall” and “may” in the Child Care Facilities Act and Regulations regarding the issuing of licenses.  We request a complete copy of the benchmarking research that has been done regarding this issue by your Department.

10.We request a detailed breakdown of the number of infant spaces available across the province.

11.We request a complete copy of the information/feedback that has been gathered during the public consultation process, including the HRA online survey.

12.We would like a complete list of each board member’s affiliation’s with respect to child care (for example, ELOPEI, owner/operator, etc). We also request a copy of the policy or procedure the board has in place regarding conflict of interest procedures.

13.Are the minutes of the child care facilities board public information? If so, we request the minutes of each meeting dating back to January 1, 2007, as well as any future meetings that take place.

Letter to Sarah Henry asking for full disclosure dated Feb 28 expecting a reply by March 7