The Government of B.C. is taking the next step toward its goal, under the BC Early Years Strategy, to expand the network of BC Early Years Centres in communities throughout the province, Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux announced today.
In August 2014, BC Early Years Centres were launched at 12 test sites. An additional 14 sites began opening this spring. Applications for the next round of BC Early Years Centres are now being accepted. The goal is to create up to 16 new centres, for a total of up to 42 centres provincewide.
The vision is to have BC Early Years Centres in a diverse mix of urban and rural, as well as First Nation, Métis and Aboriginal communities. Working with various service providers, BC Early Years Centres offer an integrated range of programs and services through a single point of access for families with young children. Available supports may include:
- Parent and child drop-in playgroup programs.
- StrongStart BC programs.
- Public health clinics.
- Advice and referrals from early-years professionals.
- Parent education workshops.
- Licensed child care for families.
- Child-care resource and referral information.
- A mobile bus to provide outreach to families in rural communities.
A cross-ministry selection panel, with representation from the ministries of Children and Family Development, Education and Health, will review applications and establish an eligibility list for the next round of centres. Successful proponents from that list will receive $52,000 from the Provincial Office for the Early Years for this fiscal year as part of a $5.5-million provincial investment over three years.
Information sessions will be held on June 23 and Sept. 16. Communities interested in registering can contact the Provincial Office for the Early Years for further details: EarlyYearsOffice@gov.bc.ca.
The deadline for completed applications is Oct. 28, 2015. To apply, visit: http://www.bcbid.ca/open.dll/
- Children’s experiences early in life have a profound and long-lasting effect on their future development and well-being. Studies show that positive early-years experiences lead to better social, economic, and health outcomes, while chief economists have noted that the wide-spread and long-lasting benefits of investment in the early years far outweigh the costs.
- The BC Early Years Strategy aims to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young children.
- The strategy builds on the $1 billion per year government spends on early learning and childhood development initiatives, services and supports, including:
- Success by 6®, Children First and Aboriginal early childhood development programs.
- Full-day kindergarten.
- Programs that support healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy.
- Early childhood development care and learning program investments, including public health nursing, Ready, Set, Learn programs and StrongStart BC early-learning programs.
- A variety of programs, services and supports to address the specific needs of children and youth with special needs.
- To make child care more affordable for families, government introduced the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit in April 2015. The benefit will provide $146 million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six years (up to $660 a year per child).
- Since Nov. 2014, the Province has invested a total of $15.2 million to support the creation of more than 2,400 new licensed child-care spaces throughout B.C., building on the approximately 107,000 spaces that government currently supports.
- The ministry has committed $323.5 million for child care in 2015-16, a 53% increase since 2000-01.
BC Early Years Centres: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_years/centres.htm
BC Early Years Strategy: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/pdf/FamiliesAgenda_EarlyYearsStrategy_web.pdf
Provincial Office for the Early Years: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_years/index.htm
Early childhood development programs funded through the Ministry of Children and Family Development: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/index.htm
Early Learning programs funded through the Ministry of Education, including full-day kindergarten and StrongStart BC: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/early_learning/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development