Spring has sprung! The month of May is here - and thousands of child-care providers across the province have an extra spring in their step - in celebration of Child Care Month in B.C.
Child-care facilities - and the dedicated, highly skilled child-care providers they employ - offer an array of play-based learning activities for babies, toddlers, and children. That means B.C. parents can pursue career, education and training opportunities, knowing their children are safe, happy and well-cared-for.
Quality child care comes in many different shapes and sizes - ranging from large, bustling group care facilities, to smaller, home-based programs. The focus of a centre typically reflects the needs of those they serve - for example, centres serving young parents may offer parent-skills training and tips alongside child care, helping to ensure better outcomes for young families.
Child-care centres serving Aboriginal children and families may incorporate traditional language, crafts or games, giving young children a chance to play, grow, and learn in a culturally relevant environment. For example, when you walk through the door of the Gingolx Headstart Daycare Centre, you're greeted by a nurturing atmosphere of playing, learning, and cultural activities for young children, including singing, drumming, and Nisga'a language learning opportunities. This centre, created with $500,000 in major capital funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, is an integral part of the small Nisga'a Village of Gingolx (Kincolith) in Northwest B.C.
Communities, individuals, and organizations throughout B.C. have organized events in celebration of Child Care Month, which will be held throughout the province during May. The B.C. government is also recognizing the extraordinary work of child care providers by proclaiming May 19 as Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. The annual Child Care Awards of Excellence - honouring B.C. child-care professionals, organizations, and local governments who have demonstrated outstanding service to children and families - will be held May 26 in Vancouver.
- There are over 6,000 licensed child-care facilities in communities across B.C.
- Approximately 60 per cent of licensed facilities are group child-care and approximately 40 per cent are family child-care.
- Across the province, there are more than 11,900 actively licensed Early Childhood Educators and more than 4,000 Early Childhood Educator Assistants.
- There are 35 post-secondary training institutes offering early childhood education programs in B.C.
- BC Child Care Resource and Referral Programs offer quality child-care referrals, resources and support to child-care providers and families in over 400 communities across the province. Child Care Resource and Referral Programs work in partnership with communities to enhance the availability and accessibility of flexible, responsive and inclusive quality child-care options and services.
- The annual investment in child-care subsidies, including special-need supports, for low- and moderate-income families is $154 million this year. The subsidy program supports about 50,000 individual children each year. The income threshold for full subsidies has gone up from $21,000 a year to $38,000.
- The government has increased the maximum subsidy rates for care surrounding the school day from $173 to $200 for children in Grade 1 and up. Also, the subsidy rate for parents whose children attend ministry-designated Young Parent Programs has been boosted from $850 to $1,000 per child.
- The government has taken several innovative steps to bring in new early learning and childhood development opportunities, services and supports, such as introducing full-day kindergarten for B.C. families.
- The first phase of full-day kindergarten was implemented in September 2010, with more than half of the province's kindergarten students beginning full-day kindergarten. The remaining kindergarten students will begin in September 2011, which will bring the number of full-day kindergarten students to an estimated 40,000.
- The government is also continuing to invest in StrongStart BC programs and plans to expand the program across the province.
- 97,000 licensed child-care spaces are funded in communities around the province.
- The government provides over $65 million for providers annually in child-care operating funding. More facilities are eligible for funding than ever before - with over 5,000 licensed child-care facilities across the province receiving funding.
If you are a parent and you want to find available child care in your neighbourhood, go to:
If you are a parent and you want to find out more information about subsidies, go to: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/subsidy_promo.htm
If you are a child-care provider and you want to learn more about available services through the ministry, go to: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/providers.htm
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Children and Family Development