THOUSANDS of families struggling with the shortage of quality child care will benefit from the 22,000 new licensed spaces coming over the next three years.
“Parents are struggling to find quality, affordable child care, and it’s time we made the investments that are good for families, and for our economy,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Creating more licensed, affordable child care spaces is a key part of our new Childcare BC plan, so parents can have the peace of mind they need and quality care they can rely on.”
The new spaces will be created through a $221-million investment in the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, which replaces the Child Care Major Capital Funding Program.
These new child care spaces will be more affordable, and the funding will be easier to access for private-sector, non-profit and public-sector child care providers. The fund will continue to support the creation of spaces on school grounds, making life easier for families, according to the Province.
“Too many parents are dealing with a lack of good options when it comes to child care, and that’s only made worse as spaces close due to financial pressures on child care operators,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “With our Childcare BC plan, we’re letting operators and parents know that government is on their side, and investing in their future. Creating these new spaces is the latest step in making child care more available and affordable for more families.”
As part of this investment, government will be looking to leverage existing facilities – on school grounds, in churches, at recreation centres and other public places – to expand child care for B.C. families. As well, funding preference will continue to be given to communities with the greatest need, such as fast-developing urban centres, and Indigenous, rural and remote communities. Creating infant and toddler spaces will be a priority.
“We know many families are struggling to find child care in Coquitlam,” said Amy Reid, Director of Step by Step Child Development Society, an established non-profit centre in the Tri-Cities. “We want to see more families having access to affordable and inclusive care. We are hopeful this new fund will support the development of partnerships, resulting in increased access to quality care for families.”
To learn more about child care in B.C., visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is introducing several key changes, including:
* A streamlined application process and a continuous intake, rather than fixed application dates, will allow child care providers to apply for funding when they need it, even if they are planning longer-term projects, and will help ensure that licensed child care spaces are being continually built throughout the year.
* Boards of education will have 100% eligibility (up from 90%) of the total cost of their project, up to a maximum of $500,000, for child care spaces they create.
* For the first time, prioritizing or targeting funding to public-sector partnerships – including local governments and boards of education – that are looking to create child care spaces with other non-profit providers. These partnerships may apply for up to 100% of the total cost of their project, up to a maximum of $1 million. Parents will benefit from public projects that provide greater stability and help protect them from lease or fee increases.
* Successful applicants for Childcare BC New Spaces funding must participate in the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative to help ensure that the new spaces that will be created will be remain more affordable for B.C. families.
* Under the new fund, child care spaces created by child development centres or Indigenous communities remain eligible for 100% of the cost of their projects, up to a maximum of $500,000. This will help ensure that children throughout the province will continue to have their physical and cultural needs met through programs that are tailored specifically for them.
* Not-for-profit organizations will be supported to create new child care spaces under the new fund, with these organizations remaining eligible for up to 90% of the total cost of their projects, up to a maximum of $500,000. Private child care providers remain eligible for 75% of the total cost of their project, up to a maximum of $250,000.
The ministry will run information sessions for providers in the coming weeks. For information about these, or to find out more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/