Volume 96, Issue 57
Friday, January 10, 2003

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VP-campus issues to act as advocate for student daycare

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

Western Daycare held a meeting on Dec. 6 to discuss the funding changes that have occurred to daycare services in London.

Nicole Nelson, University Students' Council VP-campus issues was in attendance at the meeting, which included representation from the City of London.

One of the issues discussed at the meeting was whether or not Western Daycare could act as an advocate on behalf of students who are having difficulty with their child care subsidies, Nelson confirmed.

"Approximately 50 kids are on subsidy at Western Daycare," she said. The City expressed reluctance to having Western Daycare act on behalf of parents, as they said it could result in a possible conflict of interest, Nelson explained.

As a result, Nelson has taken on the role of advocate for students having child care subsidy problems, with the City providing her with information and contact numbers to help students, she added.

Jill Arthur, director of Western Daycare, confirmed that the City did have reservations, adding they felt it was better to have a third party involved in this type of situation.

"It's basically because we're receiving funding from the City of London and we could [be seen to] be advocating in our best interest, not in parents' interests," Arthur said.

She said however, that she felt, in specific cases, the City would most likely listen to Western Daycare if they were to get involved on the behalf of a parent.

Jennifer Kirkham, director of Ontario Works for the City of London, said, that while she was not in attendance at the Dec. 6 meeting, the City likely expressed reservations about the advocacy role of Western Daycare.

"I guess it would depend on what they were advocating for," she said. Financial gain, as an example, could be a conflict of interest, Kirkham confirmed.

The funding for daycare in London has also undergone changes in the last month, she stated.

"[There were] different funding pots before – it is a streamlining of funds," she said.

Previously, the Childcare Fee Subsidy Program and the Ontario Works Childcare Subsidy provided funding for daycares. The two have now been combined to have one body provide the services.

"[The City of London has] streamlined services for parents," Kirkham said.

"Apparently, it's not going to affect child care subsidies at this point," Arthur said, in reference to the new funding scheme.

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