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Province integrating child care options into schools

May 14, 2024 at 9:58 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

More families will save time, money and stress as the Province moves forward with fully integrated before- and after-school care on school grounds.

This initiative will use existing school space as well as school district resources and staff to provide seamless care without additional pickups and dropoffs.

“As a parent, I know how hard it can be to balance work and school hours. It’s hard to find care for your child before school starts or after the bell rings at the end of the day,” said Premier David Eby. “That is why our government is taking action with more before- and after-school child care options. We’re partnering with three school districts to provide care on school grounds so children benefit from familiar faces and places throughout the day and families can count on one pickup and dropoff location.”

Three school districts have been selected for this initiative this fall: Chilliwack, Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Nechako Lakes. Early childhood educators and support staff in these school districts will provide learning and care for children in classrooms and school spaces the kids are familiar with. This means busy parents will have greater flexibility for school dropoff and pickup times, while also saving time spent commuting or juggling kids across multiple locations. 

“Through ChildCareBC, we’re ensuring more families are able to access the child care they need because we know child care needs don’t stop when children start school,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of State for Child Care. “Co-locating child care on school grounds helps ease children’s transition into school and is more convenient for busy parents.”

The ministry is providing more than $2 million over two years to the three school districts, which will create an estimated 180 new licensed child care spaces. This initiative will gather critical information to assist with future expansion of this model into other districts.

“We are excited to partner with government to help make lives easier for parents and continue to offer the same high-quality support to children before and after school that they receive during school hours,” said Karen Ranalletta, president, CUPE BC. “We recognize the need that families face in finding child care and our members are proud to be part of the solution.”

Each district will create a model of care that meets provincial guidelines and local needs. The initiative will be evaluated and lessons will support ongoing expansion in other districts.  

These spaces will be affordable for parents as they will meet regional affordability benchmarks set by the ministry. Families may also be eligible for fee reductions of as much as $115 per month, per child. Families that need additional support with the cost of child care may also be eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit.  

“As a parent of two children, I know how valuable it would be to access child care for my seven-year-old at the same location as my youngest’s existing care,” said Andrea Klassen, parent. “Having before- and after-school child care available on school grounds in a space that my son is already familiar with would be great for him and easier for me, enabling parents like me to return to the workforce.”

Quotes:

Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care –

“Our government is committed to increasing access to school-age child care and continue to explore options to better support families. School ECEs and district support staff not only provide learning to children but also form strong bonds with them. As such, these educators are well-positioned to provide a seamless transition from the school day into the extended hours that many families need for child care.”

Willow Reichelt, board chair, School District 33 –

“The Chilliwack School District is excited to participate in a two-year pilot to expand child care spaces on school grounds. This is aligned with our vision of providing a continuum of care that is inclusive, accessible, reliable and universal. The pilot funding will help support our goal of providing before- and after-school care in every Chilliwack elementary school by 2025 and will increase our district’s capacity to expand access to affordable, quality child care.”

Greg Keller, board chair, School District 68 – 

“This funding is incredible support for the before- and after-school pilot program in our district. It will help us continue to provide a critical service for families currently accessing the program and expand, allowing for more families in our district to access before- and after-school care in the familiar and welcoming environment in our schools.”

Dave Christie, board chair, School District 91 –

“Nechako Lakes School District is excited to participate in this pilot for school-aged child care on school grounds. The results from our parent and caregiver survey tell us that there is a need across all our communities for additional before- and after-school child care spaces. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Education and Child Care.”

Quick Facts:

  • Through ChildCareBC, government has funded the creation of more than 10,175 child care spaces on school grounds since 2018, with almost 3,600 of those open and providing care for children.
  • In 2018, there were two school districts in the province providing licensed child care on school grounds.
  • Licensed child care on school grounds is available in more than 900 facilities throughout the province, with more than 70 of these operated by school districts.
  • In fall 2019, the Province piloted a seamless day-kindergarten model, which has since expanded to more than 30 school districts.

Learn More:

For more information about ChildCareBC, including child care fee reductions, visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

To apply for the Affordable Child Care Benefit, visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/affordablechildcarebenefit

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