More than 50 prototype sites are being launched across the province for universal child care, though none are located in the mid-island. Spaces are being funded through a $60 million investment under the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada.
"I've talked to countless parents in Victoria who are struggling to afford child care". The amount of the quality improvement grant for each site will be determined as part of the province's evaluations of the sites' programs and improvement plans.
The Vancouver Island child care providers chosen say they couldn't be happier.
The sites were selected after a call for applications in June.
Families at the Kamloops Child Development Centre are now paying no more than $200 a month per child through the the B.C. government's universal child care prototype project.
Thirty-five families with children enrolled in the two Coast daycares will benefit from the program with fees capped at $200 per month or eliminated altogether, a release from MLA Nicholas Simons said Friday. Feedback will be relayed to the BC government in order to shape the future implementation of universal care. The Kamloops Child Development Centre will receive funding until the end of March 2020, at which point the government will either move ahead with a long-term child-care program like this across the province or scrap the idea. "We want to make life more affordable for families, and this investment will demonstrate the low-priced, high-quality care B.C. parents can look forward to as we fully implement ChildCare BC".
The prototype sites are expected to help up to 2,500 children.
"Our government is following through with our promise to deliver affordable, quality child care and these two pilot sites will help make life more affordable for dozens of families on the Coast", Simons said.
The centre's programming is derived from the Reggio Emilia approach, which encourages children to learn through exploration and discovery. Priority was initially given to sites offering infant and toddler spaces, however the government expanded eligibility to include other types of licensed child care.
"For the families, it is like winning the lottery", says Lexie's Little Bears Child Care owner Lexie Biegun.
Families who don't have access to any of these low-priced spaces may still be eligible for support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit.