A Kamloops child-care centre has been chosen as one of the 50-plus sites across the province for a new prototype program delivering affordable child care to B.C. families.
As part of the B.C. government's universal child-care project, families with kids enrolled at the Kamloops Child Development Centre will pay $200 a month per child for a full-time space starting on Nov. 1.
"It's very exciting," says Helen Blair, director of education at Kamloops Child Development Centre. "I've watched parents sitting here crying when I told them (the cost) because it's hard. In the past five years, I've had to become the person that collects money and having a parent sitting here crying that they can't make their bill is horrendous. Nevermind that if they take their child out, they can't work. So this is an awesome thing to happen because now they can afford to have their child in quality child care and work full-time."
In the past, Blair says it cost $1,174 for a single infant or toddler to be enrolled. Now, the 117 children in the centre will have access to the same care, but for a fraction of the cost.
The prototype program is funded through a $60-million investment by the federal government as part of B.C.'s Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. The Kamloops Child Development Centre will receive funding until the end of March 2020, at which point the government will either move ahead with a long-term child-care program like this across the province or scrap the idea.
"We have committed to bringing affordable, accessible and quality child care to B.C. parents," says Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development, in a press release. "These high-quality, low-cost spaces will help to shape the future direction of our Childcare B.C. plan, and we're excited to be working with providers to make life better for B.C. families."
The Kamloops Child Development Centre found out about the funding in September. They currently have no openings, however, and Blair says there are hundreds of infants on the waiting list.
"Our vision for child care is one that is inclusive and supports families from a variety of backgrounds," said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, in the release. "Kamloops Child Development Centre does just that, with its welcoming and supportive programming that teaches kids about other cultures and the world around them from an early age."
Families who don't have access to any of these low-cost spaces may still be eligible for support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit. To find out whether you are eligible for up to $1,250 per child, click HERE.