Parents will have more options to return to the workforce or pursue training to further their education as the Cowichan Valley School District (SD79) and non-profit organizations in the valley are partnering to create 161 new licensed child care spaces.
The Province is providing nearly $3 million from its Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to help the school district build child care centres at Chemainus Elementary, Cowichan Valley Open Learning Co-operative school and Khowhemun Elementary, which will be operated by local non-profit organizations. Projects are slated for completion in early 2020.
“An investment in child care is an investment in our future, and we’re thrilled to see the Cowichan Valley School District joining us in supporting families they serve,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “By locating these new centres on school grounds, parents have access to multiple services in one convenient location, while future generations of learners can better prepare for the transition from daycare to school and thrive from an early age.”
The three new centres will offer a number of wraparound services for families, including providing snacks for children at no extra cost as well as supports for young parents. In addition, the school district will work with Sun Drops Supported Child Care Centre to make programming more accessible and create individual care plans for children with extra supports needs.
The centre will also work in partnership with the Cowichan Intercultural Society to offer supports to families who are new to Canada, such as language classes, help with finding a job, a school or a home and assistance with applying for government programs.
“The board of education is extremely pleased with this announcement from the Ministry of Children and Family Development,” said Candace Spilsbury, chair of the board of education for the Cowichan Valley School District. “Early childhood education is so important for school readiness and life success, and we are excited to be part of working with the ministry to provide parents and families child care spaces at our schools.”
Under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, child care providers can apply at any time throughout the year under a new continuous application process.
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is part of the Province’s Childcare BC plan and supports its commitment to give B.C. families access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it. Since July 2018, the Province has funded more than 4,900 new licensed child care spaces throughout B.C. More new spaces will be announced as projects are approved.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley —
“I am overjoyed that families and children in my community are getting additional support and care with this investment. An unwavering commitment to early childhood education and care — two issues that go hand-in-hand — is shared between the BC NDP and BC Greens. This minority government has provided a historic opportunity for B.C. to invest in early learning, which evidence shows has countless social, economic and health benefits.”
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan —
“Last year we announced that families with children at Parkside Academy Somenos would benefit from low-cost, high-quality child care through our prototype site program. I’m pleased that today’s announcement builds on the work we’ve already done to deliver affordable, accessible care to everyone in the community. Our comprehensive Childcare BC plan is delivering for parents across the province.”
- Including these new spaces, a total of 217 new licensed child care spaces in Duncan and Chemainus have been approved for funding through Childcare BC’s space creation initiatives.
- Parkside Academy Somenos in Duncan was selected to deliver low-cost child care as part of the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites Program, providing 124 child care spaces:
- 12 spaces for children under 36 months;
- 42 for children aged three years to kindergarten;
- 20 preschool spaces; and
- 50 school-age spaces for children up to age 12.
- The Cowichan Valley Regional District, in partnership with the City of Duncan, North Cowichan, Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan, is receiving $125,000 to undertake a needs assessment and create the Cowichan Region Child Care Plan to support local families over the next 10 years.
- This funding comes from the Community Child Care Planning Program, a $3-million partnership between the Province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
To find child care a community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
For more information on child care in Duncan, visit the Clements Centre Society Child Care resource and referral centre: www.clementscentre.org/children/child-care-rr/
A backgrounder follows.