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Child care savings make returning to school more affordable for more B.C. families

August 31, 2023 at 1:55 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Families with preschool and school-aged children will have more money in their wallets preparing to go back to school with new child care savings in B.C.

“September can be tough, with back-to-school expenses on top of other essentials and groceries all going up because of global inflation. It’s a lot and people need a break,” said Premier David Eby. “That’s why we’re bringing down the cost of child care again, this time for families with preschool and school-aged children. This made-in-B.C. solution will help ease the pressure on families just in time for the new school year.”

Starting Sept. 1, 2023, families with children in eligible half-day preschool and before- and after-school programs will save as much as an additional $145 per child, per month. The Province is providing the funding directly to participating child care centres so families do not need to apply to receive the savings.

“To have the fee reductions now include school-aged care is a huge step forward for families,” said Michael Starchuk, managing director, Tomorrow’s Topkids Child Care Society. “As a society, we have always worked to keep our rates low. With these new savings for families, it will only further benefit them. My hope is that school-aged child care continues to receive close to the same benefits that child care for younger children have received; this type of care is very important to family success and for a long time has been underserved.”

These new provincially funded savings are in addition to the savings of as much as $900 per month, per child, that families with kindergarten-aged and younger children have been receiving since December 2022, with support from the provincial and the federal governments.

“Receiving the fee reduction for the upcoming school year for our two kids will have a huge impact on our family’s monthly costs,” said Frances Pratt, parent of twins attending half-day preschool. “Having the $115 fee reduction for each of our children means money in our pockets, taking a bit of pressure off our budget. Every little bit helps in these expensive times.”

The Province continues to make investments to support families to access affordable child care through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which helps families earning as much as $111,000 per year with the cost of child care.

“We’re lightening the load for families who have older kids in child care because we know child care doesn’t end at age five – it is very much needed outside of school hours,” said Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care. “We couldn’t bring these savings to families without the over 96% of eligible providers who are partnering with government through our fee reduction or $10 a Day ChildCareBC programs to families throughout B.C.”

Child care providers that are partnering with government to deliver these savings to families are also being supported through enhanced provider payments. These payments are designed to help ensure providers can continue to deliver quality care for children and reduce the need to pass on rising operational costs to families through increased fees.

Quotes:

Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care –

“Our government is working hard to make life better for families, including creating child care on school grounds to provide one dropoff location for busy parents. These savings are another important way that we are recognizing the challenges that families with young children face and helping families get ahead.”

Kelly Greene, MLA for Richmond-Steveston –

“Back-to-school season often means new expenses, with kids growing, needing new school supplies and extracurriculars starting back up. That’s why I’m pleased our government is reducing child care fees again, to make life more affordable for families.”

Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough –

“Before- and after-school care is top of mind for many families as we head into a new school year. I’m pleased to see that our government is committed to addressing the needs of families throughout B.C. by continuing to invest in quality affordable child care.”

Henry Yao, MLA for Richmond South Centre 

“I know the challenges parents face when it comes to balancing a career while caring for young children. By reducing child care fees for more children, families will find savings that can go towards groceries, sports and the next family vacation.”

Debbie Tablotney, chair, Richmond Board of Education –

“We recognize the importance of affordable child care for families in our district, and these additional savings provided by the Province are a welcome development. By providing direct support to families with preschool and school-aged children, we reinforce our shared commitment to promoting accessible and equitable education opportunities for all our students.”

Quick Facts:

  • Child care providers participating in the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI) receive funding to reduce fees as well as increased operational funding, which they can use to support staff wages, operational and administrative costs, and other expenses.
  • In exchange for this increased funding, participating providers are required to keep annual fee increases to no more than 3% of the regional median fee for their area, with limited exceptions.  
  • This fee increase limit strikes a balance between providing relief to parents while acknowledging that, over time, child care providers may need to cover increasing costs.
  • There are 94% of eligible licensed child care providers participating in the CCFRI to help families save thousands of dollars per year.
  • So far in fiscal year 2023-24, an average of more than 38,000 children per month receive support through the Province’s Affordable Child Care Benefit.

Learn More:

For information about ChildCareBC, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

For information about the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, including participating providers, visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/optin

An online tool is available for families to estimate child care savings at: https://mychildcareservices.gov.bc.ca/ccfri-estimator

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