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Better access to affordable, quality child care for Nanaimo families

Better access to affordable, quality child care for Nanaimo families

January 17, 2020 at 1:01 pm  BC, News, Politics

Child care is getting less expensive and easier to find in Nanaimo as the Province invests in 20 new child care spaces to give more parents the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.

“Our focus is on making child care more accessible and affordable for Nanaimo parents,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These 20 new spaces will allow parents to embrace new opportunities and plan a brighter future for their families.”

Two projects are being funded in Nanaimo. The Nanaimo Innovation Academy Foundation is using the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to create four new infant/toddler spaces. The centre offers a range of programs for families, including free monthly parenting workshops. Two of the early childhood educators (ECEs) who work at the foundation are fluent in Mandarin and Spanish.

“Our goal is to create a centre that provides a multicultural, socially stimulating, and community-minded environment that puts children on the path to self-development and success,” said Keely Freeman of the Nanaimo Innovation Academy. “This provincial funding means we can renovate our space to help more kids grow, learn and thrive in an environment that nurtures all aspects of their development.” 

Kids & Company is using the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to create 16 new spaces – eight infant/toddler spaces and eight for children aged three to five years. This project includes a unique partnership with Edgewood Treatment Alternatives, a private residential alcohol and drug addiction treatment centre. Edgewood provides on-site care to children whose mothers are participating in a treatment program. The funding will be used to renovate an existing residential home to add and purchase equipment and furniture for the child care facility.

“Kids & Company’s goal is to provide a stimulating and nurturing environment for children that will permit mothers to feel comfortable leaving their child with us, so they can focus on getting the help they need,” said Sue Purser, CEO, Kids & Company. “This provincial funding means that we can renovate the space to provide much needed on-site child care and parenting services for Edgewood Treatment Centre. The funding also allows us to avail a few spaces for urgent care requests.”

More than 120 new, affordable licensed child care spaces in Nanaimo 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 of spaces created in Nanaimo in the past two years to 172.

Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in Nanaimo save more than $11 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.

Quote:

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan —

“These new child care spaces give more parents the opportunity to pursue their dreams, staying focused on their work or studies knowing their children are being well cared for by qualified ECEs in environments that place their children’s development as their top priority.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province has made significant investments to improve supports for B.C.’s early care and learning professionals. To date, more than 10,000 early childhood educators have received a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, with another $1-per-hour lift to come in April 2020.
  • In Nanaimo, the Province has provided more than $260,000 to ECEs through the wage enhancement.

Learn More:

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

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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