At its core, Best Start involves a massive expansion of investments in every child’s healthy early development and quality and affordable child care – all in a convenient and easily accessible location for parents. But it is much more than that.
Best Start is a partnership with parents and families, created in response to the clear message that Ontario’s young children and their families need more integrated and accessible services, more high quality, regulated child care spaces, and more subsidies so that more families can access those spaces. It is a long-term strategy that began with an immediate expansion of child care spaces.
Best Start is also a comprehensive evidence-informed system of services that seamlessly support families with children from birth through their transition into Grade 1. These services run the gamut from newborn and infant screening to hearing programs to speech and language therapy that help identify and provide support to children who need extra help for healthy early development. They include quality child care, public health, and parenting programs that help parents help their children to be successful in school. They put families in touch with other services that they might need.
In Leeds and Grenville decision has been made that including Healthy Babies, Healthy Children as a component of Best Start will better serve our youngest citizens.
Best Start Components
A massive expansion of child care, predominantly in Ontario’s publicly funded schools; creating more choice with respect to child care options.
More child care subsidies so that more families can access quality, affordable child care spaces.
Best Start neighbourhood Child and Family Centres that provide one-stop services for families with children in communities across Ontario.
Universal newborn screening and support by public health nurses and ongoing services to identify needs early and provide vital developmental supports sooner.
A comprehensive 18-month well-baby checkup.