When someone tells you they have their license, whether it is for driving or operating a business, it comes with the understanding that they have qualifying capabilities and skills. The same applies to a licensed Child Care Algoma home care provider – they have had to undergo an intensive qualifications process. Home care isn’t just one person who is assessed and evaluated, it is ensuring that anything or anyone associated with that particular home meets childcare and regulatory standards.
Understanding the difference between a licensed and non-licensed home care provider is part of the agency’s educational platform. An approved home care provider is self-employed but licensed through Child Care Algoma.
“We have three home visits as part of our approval process and we start by setting up an appointment to view the home and conduct an inspection to ensure it meets health and safety requirements as set out within the Childcare and Early Years Act,” said Brooke Braido, Site Supervisor, Licensed Home Care at Child Care Algoma. Brooke is one link in a trio of registered early childhood educators which also includes a coordinator and a home visitor.
During the second visit, Child Care Algoma staff review their policies and procedures with the potential provider and obtains their sign-off on them. The third visit is to request the requirements. A licensed home care provider must have Level C First Aid and CPR and they, as well as any other adult living in the house, must have a vulnerable sector check. Immunization of anyone who lives at that address, including even pet vaccinations, are required to be up-to-date. And they are subject to a fire inspection by the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Department and a health inspection from Algoma Public Health.
Even once approved, home care providers are subject to monthly monitoring inspections. Standards are high because, overall, they must meet the same Ministry of Education-based guidelines that childcare centres are required to meet.
“We want parent and guardians to know they have safe and reliable standards when they use a licensed home care provider,” said Brooke. “I am in a continued, constant partnership with Algoma Public Health to ensure all procedures and policies are in place and being followed.”
Deciding to operate a home-based child care site not only comes with rules and regulations but expenses.
“Offering home care can be costly but that is where Child Care Algoma can also provide support,” said Brooke. Approved providers are required to pay for their own groceries, however, the agency can provide access to an equipment lending program.
“With all the equipment that is required, it is pricey to set up home care but we can help by giving people access to the equipment lending program and supply them with furnishings such as high chairs or strollers,” said Brooke. The equipment could remain in the home care provider’s home for the duration of their contract.
Other professional development assistance is provided in the form of monthly professional development workshops or assistance in the coordination of field trips. And to ensure that approved licensees are off to their own successful start, Child Care Algoma can even assist in finding suitable clientele.
“Licensed home care providers have the option of letting our agency find a family for them or sourcing their own clientele,” said Brooke.
Home care sites can have up to six children ranging from birth to 12 years of age and offer before and after school care or full care.
Currently, Sault Ste. Marie has 28 homecare providers but with back-to-school just around the corner, there is a need for additional home care providers.
“We just started re-opening recently and we anticipate that all home care sites will be opening early September,” said Brooke.
Extensive and strict health care protocols have been developed and are currently being put in place and continuing planning will ensure on-going adherence.
Further announcements will be forthcoming closer to the start of the fall academic year.
Child Care Algoma is a multi-service organization that is governed by a board of directors and managed by a team of professionals. Their programs are designed to enhance children’s learning through high-quality child care, early year’s programs and parent and professional supports. Their catchment area is the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Central Algoma and the North Shore.