Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Childcare Puzzle and the Transportation Hurdle

Today, a worker from Families First (FF) came to see me in my home. This organization works in partnership from what I can tell, with Ontario Works. My OW worker/administrator had asked me if I wanted to hook up with FF in January. However, she asked me in such a way that I might have easily have passed it up not realizing what the program truly offers. Nadine (my worker) said that I qualified to have my son enrolled in a sports program. Had I decided that my son wouldn't want this, or I for one reason or another couldn't manage to incorporate this in our lives, then I would have missed an opportunity that is crucial to creating the support system that I need to gain employment.

See, Families First is that link to the childcare that I need. Nadine didn't present it in that manner at all.

From the link above:


Support is provided through a focused and coordinated approach to helping sole support parents become independent. This is achieved through the collaboration of Ontario Works in Peel, Peel Children's Services, and Peel Health, and community agencies.


Studies show that sole support parents on social assistance experience permanent benefits when they receive additional health, employment, and childcare services and recreational opportunities for their children.

Short Term Goals

* To improve the financial position of sole support parents
* To improve the mental and physical health of sole support families in Peel
* To promote healthy lifestyle activities, physical fitness, cognitive functioning, and self-esteem for children and youth of sole support families
* To reduce sole support parents' reliance on fragmented health care and social assistance services

Long Term Goals

* To reduce child poverty
* To help sole support parents reduce dependency on social assistance in the Region of Peel

It is plain to see that this is the program I need. However, if I had decided not to bother with it, (by a decision based on the limited information and poor presentation of the program from my worker), I would have missed out...WE would have missed out.

As far as childcare goes, FF has a mandate that allows them to give me funds for childcare BEFORE I am employed. OW will only provide funds afterwards, or at least, not count the money paid out to childcare providers when making adjustments to their assistance payouts (the "check" a recipient gets)

Still, don't be fooled, dear readers! The benefits of this FF program are still subject to approval by my OW worker - Nadine. She has the power to disapprove childcare for me. However, she has little reason to do so, since I comply with every rule and I am active in my search. I am even, at the suggestion of my FF worker, set up with an Employment Strategies worker,(something Nadine has the power to do also, but didn't bother), to show good faith on my part.

Ellen, my FF worker, said to me that there are some people who try to get childcare and then don't bother looking for work. Sad as that may be, there are better ways of going about deciding who needs childcare and who is not putting the service to good use for their family. There are better ways to evaluate that in my estimation. One of the ways is through better communication. Another way would be through more transparency of the system which is supposedly meant to help. Why obfuscate matters and covertly manipulate clients into making decisions which may be inappropriate for them because information about what is available is not disclosed to them?

You know, if I was this half-baked and clueless with clients in any other capacity, I would have been fired, pronto!

I am still trying to figure out what the role of an "Ontario Works Worker" or administrator is in actuality. When I figure out more on that, I will post as comprehensive a piece I can on it.


Ron Payne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Payne said...

Excellent post.
Your persistence wins again.
It is up to the worker. Workers think everyone is committing fraud, and don’t tell clients about benefits. The latest research says.


The general public has no idea what the system is really like. They think fraud is ramped in Ontario Works and ODSP. Here is something to think about and it is just the tip of the iceberg according to our research.
The provincial government says welfare fraud is around 2%.
Who is really committing the fraud around here?
The federal government says income tax fraud is 13%

Ontario Works staff charged in $1.3million Fraud
By Sarah Elizabeth Brown Tuesday March 4,2008
Chronicle Journal

Government ODSP worker charged in $585,000 fraud case.
By Staff Wednesday, November 14, 2007

93.7 million dollars in corporate welfare
Linda Leatherdale March 7,2008
Premier Dalton McGuity is handing over a 9.7 million dollar corporate welfare cheque to Kellogg. Kellogg’s profit was $1 billion. Also Ford got a $55 million cheque and is now cutting shifts, while GM got $29million and is also cutting shifts.

$150 million called corporate welfare for a profitable industry.
Rob Ferguson January 10, 2008
Queens Park Bureau
The Ontario Government has earmarked $150 million to encourage pharmaceutical companies to do more drug research and manufacturing in the province.

Ron Payne
Welfare Legal
Hamilton, Ontario