The Child Care System

The Child Care System

The Manitoba Child Care System

Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care (a division of Family Services) oversees the operation of licensed early learning and child care programs for children aged three months to 12 years of age across the province. The Government of Manitoba believes that all children should have equal opportunity to access licensed child care in their community. This includes children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Licensed child care can be offered:

In centers:

  • Full-time infant and preschool – for children aged three months to six years
  • Nursery – for children aged two to five years
  • School-age – for children aged five to 12 years

In homes:

  • Family child care – provided by one person in his or her home for up to eight children, aged three months to 12 years
  • Group child care – provided by two or more people in one of their homes for up to 12 children, aged three months to 12 years

Non-Licensed child care can be offered:

  • When care is provided in a home for up to four children under the age of 12 years (with no more than two children under the age of two years), including the caregiver’s own children
  • When public or private schools take responsibility for the operation of nursery schools or before and after school programs
  • In other situations when parents are onsite and immediately accessible to their children

Finding a Licensed Child Care Center

When you are looking for child care facilities in your area, visit and contact more than one center before you apply for a spot. This will give you a good idea of the different programming facilities can offer to your child.

Important questions to ask yourself and the child care facility are:

  • Can my child’s needs be met at this child care facility?
  • Does the child care staff have experience working with individuals who have ASD? Are they willing to learn?
  • How do/will child care staff handle challenging behaviours?
  • Does the centre have any policies in place (like a zero tolerance on hitting) that may impact your child?
  • Do child care staff have any experience working with a particular therapeutic approach for children with ASD?
  • Is the child care center willing to work with outside support services like Autism Outreach, ABA programming, and Provincial Outreach Therapy?

Think about:

  • Your general impressions of facility
  • The facilities daily programs
  • The facilities belief on health and nutrition
  • Safety of the facility
  • How many trained staff the facility has

It is recommended that you contact more than one child care facility if the waiting list for one facility is long. The waiting period for a spot in a child care centre varies depending on the facility and where you live in Manitoba.

Find a licensed child care center in Manitoba by searching the Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care website at: care

You can also call Child Care Information Services for information about child care centers in your area at:

Winnipeg: 204-945-0776
Toll free: 1-888-213-4754
For more information on Manitoba child care, please visit:
Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care:


The Community Child Care Standards Act

All licensed child care in Manitoba must follow The Community Child Care Standards Act. The act defines the types of child care locations that need licensing. Its regulations help make sure that child care in licensed centers and homes meets government standards.

To become familiar with the rights of your child and the child care system, review the Community Child Care Standards Act at:

Inclusion Policy

The Manitoba Child Care Program is committed to supporting inclusive practices in licensed early learning and child care centers. Every licensed Child Care facility is required to follow the Community Child Care Act and develop an inclusion policy that supports inclusive early learning and child care. The inclusion policy guides each program and daily decisions made at the child care facility.

It is important to review the child care facility’s inclusive policy when looking at options for child care. Facilities can offer different types of programming or have different views of what an inclusive environment looks like. Reviewing the child care facilities inclusion policy will ensure that your ideas and values of inclusion for your child are a good match with the child care facility.

For more information on inclusion policies, please visit:

Child Day Care for Children with Disabilities

Manitoba Child Care Inclusion Support Program

Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care runs the Child Care Inclusion Support Program. This program funds child care centers, nursery schools, family and group child care homes to allow a child with additional support needs to fully participate in an early learning and child care programs. The goal of the program is to improve children’s development within regular daily child care programs and to implement positive social attitudes toward all abilities.

Referral Process

Referrals to the inclusion support program cannot be made by the child care facilities. Referrals must be made by one of the following:

  • Children’s disAbility Services (CdAS)
  • Society of Manitoban’s for Disabilities (SMD)
  • Child and Family Services (CFS)
  • Child Development Clinic (CDC)
  • Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY)
  • Child Guidance Clinic (CGC)
  • A Behavioural Specialist

Once the regional or area office receives the intake application with the diagnostic assessment, the child’s eligibility is determined.

Have more questions about the referral process? Please contact your area office by visiting the following website to get contact information:
Or E-mail for enquiries at:

Choosing a Case Manager

One the child is accepted into the Child Care Inclusion Support Program, the family will work with the child care coordinator and other team members to choose a case manager for their child.

A case manager can be:

  • An adult family member
  • A family services worker from Children’s disAbility Services (CdAS)
  • A service co-ordinator from Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD)
  • A social worker from Child and Family Services (CFS)
  • Any other member on the team who is willing to coordinate services

A case manager is responsible for:

  • Organizing meetings
  • Co-ordinating referrals to agreed upon services (for example: Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech Language Pathologists) after discussion with the family and other members of the team
  • Developing plans to access needed services and revise these plans, based on changing abilities, changing needs and life transitions
  • Address needs or issues that may arise from the family or from the other members of the team
  • Ensure the transition to school form is completed

Individual Program Plan

Another process that must occur after the child enters the Child Care Inclusion Support Program is the development of an Individual Program Plan (IPP).


  • Is a document developed by the team members;
  • Outlines goals and supports needed for the child while in child care;
  • Explains what team members responsibilities are to help child meet their goals;
  • Is developed during the intake meeting with team members;
  • Must be reviewed and updated at least once a year.

The team members that may be involved in the IPP are:

  • Parents or guardians
  • A child care facility representative
  • The case manager
  • The child care coordinator
  • A child development counsellor
  • Therapists
  • A family services worker
  • Others

Team members are to make sure that the child has appropriate supports set up to meet goals and consistently monitor goals.


If a child is eligible for the inclusive support program, funding is determined based on all of the information provided during the application process. The amount of funding provided will vary between children as every child is unique. It is important to note that funding provided can be different for two children attending the same child care facility. Also, not every child care facility will qualify for funding.

Funding amounts are decided based on:

  • Existing resources in the child care facility
  • The needs of both the child and those of the facility the child will be attending


Based on specific eligibility criteria for the Inclusive Support Program, child care facilities may qualify for:

  • Financial help for support staff
  • Grants for specialized equipment or adaptations to equipment
  • Staff training
  • Support worker

If your child is a client for service programs like Autism Outreach or Provincial Outreach Therapy for Children, these services can be provided in the child care facility your child attends. Parents can expect to get copies of the visit reports and recommendations made to child care staff. Services your child may receive are:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Autism specialist and child development counsellor

For more information on the Inclusion Support Program, please review:

Manitoba ABA Early Learning Program for Children with Autism

St. Amant directs the Manitoba ABA Program for Children with Autism (MABACA). It is funded by the provincial government and provides early learning programing for children with autism between 2 to 6 years. A child in the early learning program will have early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) for up to 3 years.

Overview of Program

  • A program consultant will develop a plan with parents and other members working with child to individualize programming.
  • Depending on the program plan, preschool children will have 20-36 hours of one-on-one home based teaching sessions every week with their ABA tutor.
  • Parents are expected to run 5 ABA home-based sessions with their child and ABA tutor.
  • The ABA programming typically first occurs in the child’s home environment. Programming can occur within nursery school and daycare environments at an appropriate time for each child, and in a planned manner. This is a part of the transition process to school settings.
  • Although each program plan is different for each child, programming typically will follow a preschool schedule Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM format.

St. Amant is also developing more flexible approaches to the use of ABA for those unable to commit to this level of intensity, and also helps with the transition into child care and school settings.

For more information on ABA in Manitoba, please visit these websites:

Or call:
Family Program Support Officer
St. Amant Autism Programs
Phone: (204) 256-4301, ext. 3467

Autism Outreach

Autism Outreach is a departmental service run through the Government of Manitoba.  The service is offered to preschool children diagnosed with ASD in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba.

Overview of Program

  • Autism Outreach uses a DIR/Floortime approach that provides families with a play-based, child-led and flexible model of support for their preschool children with ASD.
  • An autism specialist will complete an initial assessment and work with the family and a child development coordinator to identify goals and priorities for your child. The Autism specialist then provides training and consultation to families and nursery school or daycare staff during regular visits, in cooperation with the child development coordinator.
  • The child development coordinator will follow your child throughout Autism Outreach to ensure the child’s service plan is meeting the child’s needs and goals. Autism Outreach programming will continue until services are no longer required, or the child is no longer eligible for programming.

For more information on Autism Outreach, please contact:
Autism Outreach – Autism Specialist
100-280 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB   R3C 0R8
Phone: (204) 945-2295

What if I have a problem with my child’s child care facility?

If you are not happy with your child’s child care facility, services, or programs provided, discuss issues with the child care staff and your childcare coordinator. Discussing a concerns you have with your child’s support team can ensure everyone is on the same page and that appropriate changes are being made to best fit your child’s needs. It is important to keep a good relationship with the child care facility so concerns can be easily resolved and handled. Most concerns can be resolved between families and the support team.

If a concern you have is not dealt with after speaking with child care facility staff and team members, contact Child Care Information Services at:

Winnipeg: 204-945-0776
Toll free: 1-888-213-4754

Staff members are available to answer your questions or write down the details of a concern or complaint. All concerns are investigated by licensing staff.