Families in 21 more communities will soon benefit from convenient one-stop access to supports and services that will help their children learn, grow and thrive.
These new centres will bring the total to 47 BC Early Years Centres throughout the province and are expected to open this spring and summer in the following communities:
- Alberni (School District #70)
- Atlin (Taku River Tlingit First Nation)
- Burns Lake (Carrier Sekani Family Services)
- Canim Lake Band (Canim Lake Band)
- Chase (Adams Lake Indian Band Aboriginal Head Start)
- Clearwater and region (Yellowhead Community Services Society)
- Cormorant Island (‘Ngamis First Nation)
- Fort Nelson (Northern Rockies Aboriginal Women Society)
- Grand Forks (Boundary Family & Individual Services Society)
- Houston (Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre)
- Kelowna (Kelowna Community Resources Society)
- Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows (School District #42)
- Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows/Langley (Katzie Cultural Education Society)
- Merritt and region (Nzen’man Child and Family Development Centre Society)
- North Vancouver (North Shore Community Resources Society)
- New Westminster (Lower Mainland Purpose Society)
- Okanagan Skaha (School District #67)
- Richmond (Richmond Family Place Society)
- Vancouver (Kiwassa Neighbourhood Services)
- Victoria/Saanich (Saanich Neighbourhood Place)
- Westbank First Nation (Westbank First Nation)
BC Early Years Centres are tailored to meet the needs of each local community and allow parents with children aged 0-6 to access services such as child drop-in playgroup programs, StrongStart BC programs, public health clinics, advice and referrals and parent education workshops all under one roof.
The new centres are in a diverse mix of urban, rural and Aboriginal communities and were chosen by the Provincial Office for the Early Years with support from the ministries of Children and Family Development, Education, Health and health authorities, including the First Nations Health Authority.
The network of BC Early Years Centres is a commitment under the BC Early Years Strategy, which aims to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young children. Each new centre will receive $52,000 annually from the Provincial Office for the Early Years.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“We know that for those with young children it can be hard enough just to get out of the house some days – that’s why we are committed to expanding our network of early years centres to make it easier for parents to make connections, build relationships and access supports that will help their children reach their full potential.”
- Evidence suggests that 90% of brain development occurs in the first six years of a child’s life and chief economist have noted that the benefits of investment in the early years far outweigh the costs.
- That’s why government is committed to the actions set out in our BC Early Years Strategy – a long-term plan to improve access, affordability and the quality of early years programs throughout the province.
- A key deliverable in the strategy was the creation of the Provincial Office for the Early (EYO), which was established in 2014.
- The EYO works across various levels of government to oversee the successful implementation of the strategy and to improve the accessibility, quality, affordability and co-ordination of programs and services for young children such as:
- The B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit, which came into effect in April 2015, provides $146 million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six (up to $660 a year per child).
- The creation of over 2,000 new licensed child-care spaces by March 2016 with the goal of opening 13,000 new spaces by 2020. This builds on the approximately 111,000 spaces that government currently supports throughout B.C.
- The expansion of the BC Early Years Centres network.
- The B.C. Early Years Strategy builds on the $1 billion per year government spends on early learning and childhood development initiatives, services and supports, including:
- 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.
- Success by 6, Children First and Aboriginal early childhood development programs.
- A variety of programs, services and supports to address the specific needs of children and youth with special needs.
- The Ministry of Children and Family Development also provides child-care subsidies to help low-income families afford child care – helping approximately 45,000 children each year.
- The ministry has committed $323.5 million for child care in 2015-16, a 53% increase since 2000-01.
BC Early Years Centres: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_years/centres.htm
Provincial Office for the Early Years: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_years/index.htm
B.C. Early Years Strategy: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/pdf/FamiliesAgenda_EarlyYearsStrategy_web.pdf
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/
A backgrounder follows.