Home-daycare network one of a kind in Canada

The Child Care Providers Resource Network of Ottawa-Carleton connects home-daycare providers and parents with valuable information and support.

Providers of home daycare in Ottawa — and the parents who need such services — have an advantage that isn’t common elsewhere, that being the Child Care Providers Resource Network of Ottawa-Carleton.

It’s an organization that provides support and resources to home-daycare providers in Ottawa, and information for parents.

Caregivers can call the CCPRN for advice on a variety of issues, says Andrea Gingras, board member and past president. “The most common question would be, ‘How can I find parents?’ and about advertising.” Inquiries about income tax rules for home-daycare providers are also common.

CCPRN past president Andrea Gingras

And parents can use the CCPRN to help find childcare providers and access other information such as the going rates for daycare in different parts of the city.

The CCPRN, in its current state, has been around since 1998. It was created from an amalgamation of the Ottawa-Carleton In-Home Child Care Providers Association and the Independent Child Caregiver’s Association, two groups that had been in existence since the early 1980s.

Gingras says the organization is unique in the extent to which it serves caregivers and parents, and because it’s almost fully funded by government, with 80-per-cent of its core funding coming from the province and 20-per-cent coming from the city.

“We’re the only organization of its kind in Canada,” says Gingras. “We’re not just a small organization of a few caregivers that meet over coffee at the end of the day … the uniqueness is that we’re the only one.”

It operates with a staff of just two full-time employees, with some part-time help.

The organization has a database of almost 3,000 people, mostly caregivers, who access what the group has to offer. This includes people who are paid members and those who have free accounts.

There are a little less than 500 members, who pay $25 a year, and get physical newsletters sent to them every two months, eligibility for board seats and discounts at a variety of businesses in the city.

Non-members who sign up for free accounts can access the newsletter online and get information on an array of workshops and children’s events organized by the CCPRN. Doreen Cowin, the group’s executive director, says membership fees essentially pay the cost of mailing the newsletters.

For some parents, home daycare is an option they use as they sit on a waiting list for licensed daycare. But as someone who was a home-daycare provider for about 30 years, Gingras says this type of child care offers advantages such as flexibility in hours of operation and the types of services providers are willing and able to

“I’ve taken children, my daycare clients, to the dentist. I’ve been involved in baptisms and birthday parties over the years, so it’s a very close-knit relationship,” she says.

Gingras says there’s a closeness home-daycare providers develop with children that’s hard to duplicate in larger centres.

“It’s one adult with those children consistently,” she says. “Somebody’s not coming in and doing a split shift and seeing the children at the end of the day but not seeing them when they arrive. There’s stronger continuity, I guess you could say, and because of that, these bonds develop over the years.

“I’ve had clients for 12, 13 years. I don’t think you’d see that in a centre.” 

– derekabma73@gmail.com, Twitter.com/derekabma