Child Care and Children's Programs

Best Start

Durham’s Vision for Best Start

All children (0-12 years) in the Regional Municipality of Durham will be ready and eager to achieve their best in the community. Families in the Regional Municipality of Durham will be supported allowing all children the opportunity to be ready and eager to achieve their best in the community.

Background and overview

Best Start was initiated in 2005 by the Government of Ontario to support children and families from birth to Grade 1.

The Best Start Network (BSN) was established when existing service providers came together to plan for the needs of our community. The Regional Municipality of Durham, designated as the Consolidated Municipal Service Manager (CMSM), assumes a lead role by developing and implementing an annual Child Care Service Management Plan.

Funding for the Best Start Program has been used to create and sustain additional licensed child-care spaces, additional wage subsidies for staff and additional funding for special needs resourcing programs. In addition, the Best Start Network produces and circulates resources to the early learning community, hosts community meetings regarding current early learning issues, and submits position papers to both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services as required.

Durham’s BSN provides an opportunity for the region’s six school boards, child-care service providers and support agencies to meet and share information and ideas. Many partnerships have developed as a result of BSN activities. The province of Ontario is in the process of modernizing the child care and early-learning system and in Durham the BSN is working hard to navigate through this transition.

In 2005 the Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced Best Start, as a 100 per cent provincially funded 10-year child care initiative. Please see: Children’s Services 2006 Business Plan (PDF).

The Children’s Services Division expanded the number of community partners involved in planning to incorporate a broader range of service providers, as well as the six school boards in Durham, establishing Durham’s Best Start Network. Please see: Durham Best Start Terms of Reference (PDF) .

A considerable amount of research has been reviewed and data analyzed to identify areas of need and gaps in service. Strategies have been developed to address the needs based on the identified level of provincial funding. Please see: