THUNDER BAY — The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board has chosen a new coordinator for licensed private home child care operations in Thunder Bay.
Our Kids Count is now a licensed Private Home Child Care Agency for the city and for district communities.
The community development organization will receive operational funding from TBDSSAB to oversee individual private home child care programs and services.
Until July 1 of this year, the City of Thunder Bay oversaw the publicly-funded home childcare program under an agreement with the social services board.
City council voted to opt out, however, after administration cited challenges delivering the program.
The city continues to operate its four child care centres.
In an announcement Wednesday, the TBDSSAB said the transition of licensed private home child care to Our Kids Count comes at a critical time as Ontario rolls out the Canada-Wide Early Learning & Child Care System.
Under this initiative, fees will be lowered to an average of $10 per day for children under the age of six in licensed child care by September 2025.
For a private operator to participate in the system, it must be overseen by a licensed agency.
"Our Kids Count has been a critical resource for children and families in the community for many years," said TBDSSAB board chair Lucy Kloosterhuis. "We're confident that licensed home child care is in good hands with OKC."
Jackie Knough is the executive director of Our Kids Count.
She said the organization is thrilled to take on the new task.
"Our Kids Count has been working with families for decades, and expanding our services to support families looking for quality child care spaces feels like a natural next step for us."
Knough added that she hopes the program will grow, as many parents struggle to find licensed child care spaces.
According to TBDSSAB, there are currently four licensed home child care providers in Thunder Bay, each of which is authorized to have up to six children in care at any one time.