Geographic Variation in Services under Different Providers: The Case of Formal Child Care in Ontario
This study concerns geographic variation in levels of formal child care provision in the province of Ontario, Canada. The historical development of the decentralized service system is described, highlighting the emergence of public nonprofit, private nonprofit, and private proprietary service providers. Several policy measures in the recent past have attempted to restrict development of proprietary services, and this study examines in detail the geographic distribution of services prior to a number of these initiatives. Correlation analysis shows that service levels are related to measures of socioeconomic status, service need, and size and distribution of area populations. A regression model accounting for service levels in terms of socioeconomic status, single-parent families, and regional effects is described. Results differ by provider sector. Private nonprofit service levels are related to all three factors. Private proprietary services respond to socioeconomic status and to regional effects, but not to need measures. Service levels in the public nonprofit sector are not related to the model of service provision described here.