5 steps to finding child care services

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If you are a parent to young children, one of the most important services that you will need is child care. In Canada, children from three months to 12 years cannot be left home unsupervised. You will need a safe, reliable and affordable day-care centre for them.

Quality child care services help your children learn and have fun while developing their social skills. These also allow you to pursue your career, education, or other activities without having to worry about your children’s comfort, safety, and well-being while you are away.

Here’s how to find a good child care facility:

  1. Search for child care facilities

    Newcomer parents can search for child care facilities by word-of-mouth, through settlement agencies, online using the Child Care Online Search Tool, via social media, or through neighbourhood bulletins. Ask your neighbours and friends who have young kids if they can refer a place for you. Your Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Worker is also a good source. Nowadays, some child care centres also advertise their services through Facebook Groups or other online means.

    Use the Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Online Search Tool to look for licensed day-care service by type of facility, location and age of child/ren. Generally, there are two types of facilities: child care centres and family child care homes. The main difference between the two is that the number of children is less in a home than in a centre. There are also unlicensed home child care providers in Manitoba. However, if you use unlicensed care, you cannot receive subsidies to help with your child care fees. Read Types of child care centres in Manitoba to know more about your options.

  2. Visit the facility

    After listing down the centres or homes you prefer, take time to visit them. Observe whether they are clean and safe, or if they are properly run, equipped, and staffed. This will be a good opportunity to ask questions about their policies and programs as well as other specific concerns you may have. If your child has additional support needs, this is the best time to bring it up. Watch Quality Child Care in Focus: What Parents Should Look For from the Finding Quality Child Care site (CCRU) to help you in your decision-making.

  3. Register for services

    The Online Registry tool is Manitoba’s centralized waiting list. Once you have chosen which facility (ies) you like, register, and sign up here. Depending on the demand, there may be some waiting time.

    It may be of value to visit a child care centre that you like or one that is near your home. You can ask directly if a slot is available. You can also speak to the administrators and learn more about the facility.

  4. Apply for subsidy

    Part of your child care fees may be shouldered by the province. To see if you are eligible use the Subsidy Eligibility Estimator and then apply on this page: Child Care Online.

  5. Be involved

    After you have enrolled your child, you are encouraged to check in and talk to the facility director, staff or child care provider. Partner with them and always take an active interest in your child’s progress to get the best out of your child care service arrangement.

Article updated February 14, 2019.

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Community Resources

If you want to know more about Manitoba’s child care program, visit the Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care site.

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