As parents return to work, the Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in Port Alberni by investing in 48 new licensed spaces.
“As people in communities across B.C. begin returning to work as part of the gradual restart of our economy, having safe access to child care close to home is critically important,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “These new spaces will support Port Alberni parents as they return to work and offer a safe and nurturing place for children to begin on a pathway to lifelong learning.”
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is supporting two projects that will create more child care options for Port Alberni families. Kackaamin Family Development Centre (KFDC) is building a new child care centre with 32 spaces for children under the age of 12. In addition, Alberni Valley Saplings is creating 16 spaces for children under the age of 12.
KFDC is a trauma and addictions recovery treatment facility for Indigenous and non-Indigenous families. The centre allows families to stay together while a parent receives treatment. The new child care spaces mean the centre will be able to accept up to 14 families into the treatment program and provide children with safe and inclusive care on site.
“We believe that healthy families are the foundation of healthy communities,” said Lisa Robinson, executive director, KFDC. “This support from the Province means we can make child care available at our facility for even more families, helping to keep children with their parents while they recover and learn to make positive choices that enable them to cope better with life’s challenges.”
Alberni Valley Saplings will offer inclusive programming and extended hours to accommodate families who need care outside of traditional business hours. The centre is located within a collection of community services, including the Citizens Advocacy Society and Literacy Alberni. The location provides Saplings children with the opportunity to build relationships and connections with a diverse community right outside their door. The centre is expected to open in July 2020.
“Our community is desperate for more quality child care and we are so pleased that the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund means we can offer that for Port Alberni families,” said Jessica Thompson, co-owner and operator of Alberni Valley Saplings. “We are a play-based and nature-focused centre and look forward to spending lots of time outside, helping the children in our care build a connection to the natural world.”
These new spaces in Port Alberni are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. They were included in March 2020’s milestone announcement of 13,000 new spaces the Province has funded since July 2018.
“For too long, families in our community weren’t able to access quality, affordable child care,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Port Alberni. “Our government is delivering new spaces right here in Port Alberni so that more parents will able to go to work, attend school and enjoy life, knowing that their kids are being cared for in a safe, nurturing environment.”
An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, brings the total to more than 17,000 new licensed spaces since July 2017.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents save almost $500 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB) and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI). Over 69,500 children have been approved for ACCB benefit plans since the start of the program. Currently, over 61,000 licensed child care spaces are approved to receive CCFRI funding.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- As the Province moves towards its “new normal” under COVID-19, child care projects may have unexpected delays.
- Once operational, child care providers will be required to follow guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control to keep staff and the families they serve safe and to limit the risk of transmission.
- Three child care providers in the mid-island are providing child care for no more than $10 a day as part of the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites.
- To date, the Province has invested more than $19 million to provide nearly 12,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, which increased to $2 per hour in April 2020, to better recognize the work they do.
More information on health and safety standards for child care, plus the latest COVID-19 related child care information, is available at: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
For more information on the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites
For more information on child care in Port Alberni, visit: https://pacific-care.bc.ca/?page_id=12#CCRR