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Better access to affordable, quality child care for New Westminster families

Better access to affordable, quality child care for New Westminster families

January 16, 2020 at 9:10 am  BC, News, Politics

Child care is getting less expensive and easier to find in New Westminster as the Province invests in 46 new child care spaces to give more parents the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.

“We know it can be challenging for families to find quality, licensed child care close to where they live, work and study,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These spaces will help fill a need in the community and provide culturally rich opportunities for kids to learn, grow and play in an area that is convenient for many families.”

Through Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund, Growing Hands Childcare Centre recently opened a new centre in New Westminster that offers a full range of care options for area families by providing 12 infant and toddler spaces, 16 spaces for children aged three to five years and 12 spaces for school-age children. There are also six preschool spaces.  

Located near Pearson Adult Learning Centre, Douglas College, Lord Kelvin Elementary school and community centres, the new facility provides a convenient location for parents who are studying nearby. Families are also supported through monthly parent groups where free child care is provided.

The centre offers diverse programming where kids are encouraged to play, learn and grow at their own pace. It includes sensory activities, arts and crafts, circle time and a weekly music class. Children are also introduced to languages such as Farsi, Japanese and Arabic with staff fluent in many different languages. 

“These new child care spaces are so welcome and needed in our community,” said Judy Darcy, MLA for New Westminster. “I can’t tell you how often I hear from parents and families what a huge impact having a child care space and affordable fees makes in their lives.”

More than 115 new, affordable licensed child care spaces in New Westminster have been funded by the Province since the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund launched in July 2018. They are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history, with more than 10,400 funded in the past 15 months.

With the addition of 900 spaces funded through partnerships with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and Aboriginal Head Start using federal funding, and 4,100 spaces created through the 2017 Budget Update, more than 15,400 spaces have been funded in B.C. This brings the total spaces funded in New Westminster in the past two years to more than 150.

Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in New Westminster save more than $7.5 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.

Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • In June 2018, the B.C. government launched the Start-Up Grant program, which supports individuals and unlicensed child care providers to become licensed. In New Westminster, 23 new spaces are being created through start-up grant applications.
  • To date, the Province has invested more than $13 million to provide more than 10,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, with another $1-per-hour lift to come in April 2020. This includes more than $345,000 for early childhood educators in New Westminster.

Learn More:

For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

To learn more about Growing Hands Childcare Centre, visit: www.growinghands.ca

To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund

To find child care in a community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/

Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430

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