36 infants are in line with only three spots available.

Executive Director of North Hastings Children’s Services Jessica Anderson explains that they submitted an expansion plan to Hastings County in August to revise their current license for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. “We are the only licensed childcare provider in the North,” she says. A revision of their license would allow them to care for infants and toddlers.

Anderson adds that of those 36, 25 needed care right away with 21 needing in between now and December, and another nine needing it by the New Year. “That will only increase as the year goes on,” she says.

With Children’s Service being the only licensed childcare provider for North Hastings, Anderson says the expansion is needed. Along with revising their license, they also want to put a pre-school in a York River Public School. For that to happen, a new license would be needed for York River, which would require “substantial” work to be done. Anderson explains that they would need to bring a full-time worker on-board for the project. “We need to ensure under the childcare and early years act that each room can accommodate the age group,” Anderon says.

$40,000 has already been secured for the project, but another $40,000 is needed. Anderson says that will have to come from the County. Children’s Services operational funding comes through the Ministry of Education and is managed at the County level.

For this revision to happen, an advisor from the Ministry of Education needs to come in to inspect the building, a drawing needs to be made, equipment from the playground needs to be removed to make sure it’s age-appropriate and they need to go over their policies, ratios and staff to make sure they’re in alignment with the Childcare and Early Years act. With a possible increase, they would also need to be prepared for that. More infants mean more cribs are needed along with age-appropriate furniture and equipment, Anderson explains. “It’s not as simple as just opening our doors and saying we’re going to accept more infants and toddlers,” she says.

Children’s Services are in talks with the County right now to get the other half of funding needed. “They have limitations on the amount of funding they get from the province,” Anderson says.