Today: Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 11:10 pm (PST)

Applications for universal child care pilots now being accepted

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VICTORIA: Are you a child care provider who believes in the long-term vision of the Childcare BC plan to create affordable child care? Do you want to be a partner in the Province’s move towards a universal system that will make a difference in the lives of B.C. families?

As part of the Province’s commitment to creating affordable, accessible and quality child care in B.C., the Ministry of Children and Family Development is now accepting applications from licensed child care providers who want their facilities to become prototype sites – which will model child care at a cost of $200-a-month per child – and report on the results. Information learned from these prototype sites will inform changes and the expansion of universal child care over the next 10 years.

The new prototype sites, which will run from Sept. 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, will convert approximately 1,800 licensed child care spaces at existing facilities around the province into low-cost spaces for families. Fees at approved facilities will be capped at $200 a month, per child.

For eligible families with an annual pre-tax income of less than $45,000, child care will be free at these facilities through the new Affordable Child Care Benefit, which will officially roll out in September 2018. Families with a pre-tax income under $111,000 will pay less than $10 a day.

To be eligible to apply for the program, child care providers must:

* be currently providing licensed child care for infants and toddlers (under 36 months)

* have been receiving child care operating funding for at least two years

* be approved for the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative

* provide information on the financial details of their operation

* support a site visit from an evaluation contractor, as part of access to a one-time quality improvement grant

* be willing to enrol families receiving the new Affordable Child Care Benefit

Whenever possible, priority will be given to applicants serving:

* Indigenous parents and children

* families new to Canada (non-residents of Canada within the last 12 months)

* young parents (parents under the age of 25)

* francophone families

* families with children who have diverse/extra support needs and/or require inclusive child care spaces

* families who require extended hours of operation to cover shift work or other commitments.

Providers interested in this opportunity can learn more by participating in informational webinars being held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, Wednesday, June 27, and Wednesday, July 4, 2018. To join one of the webinars, please visit: http://video.web.gov.bc.ca/mcfd/live

In February, the Province signed a $153-million Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) partnership agreement with the Government of Canada. As part of this agreement, the federal government is investing $60 million over the next two years to support these prototype sites.

Under Childcare BC, the Province is investing more than $1 billion in child care over the next three years to lay the foundation for a universal child care system. Investments under the ELCC agreement complement the Province’s Childcare BC goals to improve affordability for families.

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