More providers are opting in every day to reduce child-care fees for parents, said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care.
“We’re encouraged by the operators throughout the province who have signed on to reduce fees for parents,” said Chen. “We’re continuing to work directly with child-care providers to answer questions and get them signed up, so even more families will receive these savings.”
Families accessing care at child-care centres that have been approved for the fee-reduction initiative will be eligible for savings in April 2018. To date, 61% of providers have returned contracts, with 23 days remaining until the deadline, April 20. Eighty-six per cent of those providers are opting in. Operators who choose not to opt in for April remain eligible to do so at any time in the future.
B.C.’s child-care fee reduction initiative by the numbers:
- Up to $350: The total amount some parents will save in the month of April.
- 1,150: The number of providers who have applied for April fee reductions.
- 61%: The portion of B.C.’s licensed providers who have returned contracts.
- 86%: The rate at which providers whose contracts have been processed are choosing to opt in.
- 57: The number of questions answered in the ministry FAQ documents sent to providers.
- 7: The number of telephone town halls the ministry has conducted with child-care providers.
- 1,500: The number of providers who have dialed in to those telephone town halls.
- 23: The number of days still remaining for providers to apply for April fee reductions.
Kulbinder Rai, Bright Beginnings Early Childhood Centre (Nanaimo) –
“I’ve been in the field for 30 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen a sitting government actually acknowledge that the early years are very important. I feel like they’re listening.
“I care about my families, and I’m thinking of one young family as a good example of those who this really benefits. They’re young parents in their early twenties. The mom is going back to school. She wants to get a degree. They’re exactly the type of family this initiative is going to help, and that really matters to me.”
Correen (Vanessa) Blishen, Duchess Early Learning Centre Ltd (Prince George) –
“Our centre is based on our community. We believe that part of that is reciprocal give or take. We believe in supporting our community and our families in whatever way possible, whenever we can. Our families invest in us and we need to invest in our families and support them as well.
“When the program was offered, we opted in right away and our parents were very excited about it. They appreciate us lowering our fees by $100, but they understand the quality of care that we supply their children and are willing to pay the fee. The $100 to them is just an added bonus. Our families really appreciate that our centre would go that extra mile and have this incentive program available to them.”
Lorraine Lively, Kamloops Christian School Early Learning Centre –
“I heard about the program and decided to opt in. I think it’s an excellent deal for the families. It’s very needed. We want to support our families as best we can. We have a lot of very low-income families. For some of them, it’s going to mean the difference between whether they buy groceries or pay for child care. It’s going to be extremely beneficial.
“From my understanding, this is just step one of a three-year plan, and I believe there is an even longer-term plan. We know there are some issues with wages and education and staffing, but I believe the government has made it clear that there are more initiatives coming out. It looks to me like the government is very well aware of the issues in this area, but it can’t be done all in one step.”
Sylvie Fersch, Arc-en-ciel/Rainbow Enrichment Centre (Vernon) –
“I feel opting in to the parent reduction portion of the B.C. child-care plan is the best way to begin this new journey for a universal child-care system in B.C. As an owner/operator of a licensed early learning multi-age centre in my home, I have opted in, and think this is the first step for our vision for a universal child-care system in B.C.
“My families are very pleased that they will be receiving a reduction in their fees. This also means mothers have an opportunity to regain full-time careers. The plan is right, the forms are simple, and I am happy to be able to do them via email. Thank you, everyone, for all your hours of dedication for families.”
Debra Roxburgh, Three Tree Early Learning Center (Cumberland) –
“I am choosing to opt in to the new child-care fee reduction program. After 22 years in the field, I often reflect on my ‘why?’ Why do I care for young children? I am here because I want to make a difference in the lives of the children whom I care for. I do this work because I want to increase their quality of life. I am passionate about supporting families.”
Jackie Lindsay (Courtenay) –
“As a for-profit child-care provider, I will be opting in for the child-care funding. After listening to the webinar link, gaining a deeper understanding of child care in B.C. and the call that CCOF had hosted, it answered a lot of questions.
“The frequently asked questions also helped me understand specific changes for centre. Any questions that I had that were specific to my centre, I was able to call in, and they were addressed. This new change, on how we do our administration in our centres, at times has been overwhelming and time consuming. I remember 10 years ago, when we first got the CCOF agreement, we went through the same growing pains. This will be helpful to the families in our centres and it is really about the little ones we care for. For this reason, I will be opting in.”
Deb Bryant, Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC –
“At the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC, we will certainly opt in to the child-care fee reduction initiative. We’re glad to be part of an initiative that provides some financial relief to the families we serve.
“It is so good to finally see some recognition of the importance of child care to the wellbeing of families and neighbourhoods, not to mention the health of our economy. We expect that this is the first of many steps toward building an affordable, accessible, quality child-care system in B.C., and we are ready and willing to participate.”