New grants have potential to create new child care spaces

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Katrina Chen
Katrina Chen
Katrina Chen

Victoria: Families searching for quality, licensed child care in their communities will have hundreds more options through a new grant program.

“Thousands of parents, providers and educators have told us that the availability of quality child care is the number one concern for them,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “This grant program will offer providers a new source of funding to become licensed, and it – along with other initiatives – will help to further enhance the quality of programs.”

Eligible unlicensed child care providers – who are currently limited to providing care to a maximum of two children unrelated to them, or a sibling group – can now apply for financial assistance to become licensed family or in-home multi-age (IHMA) child care providers. Becoming licensed allows child care providers to care for seven or eight children, depending on their licence.

To help providers switch over, the Province is investing $750,000 in the program per year, over the next three years.

“Families and providers have been clear: there are just not enough child care spaces out there to meet demand, which is why our Childcare BC plan puts a premium on the creation of new, quality, highly sought-after licensed spaces,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This grant program is step one as we gear up to announce a major investment in, and overhaul of, our child care building plan in the coming weeks.”

Funds of up to $4,500 are available for providers pursuing an IHMA licence, and up to $4,000 for providers pursuing a family child care licence. Funds include a $500 up-front payment, in addition to $500 per space, which will be provided to cover the costs of becoming licensed, including but not limited to:

  • training fees (i.e. Responsible Adult course, Mother Goose training, first aid);
  • application fees (i.e. licensing, re-zoning);
  • hiring replacement staff while taking a required course to become licensed; and
  • buying equipment for a child care facility.

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 in licensed providers complement the Province’s Childcare BC goals of improving quality and building more licensed spaces for B.C. families.