Surrey: Children in British Columbia with extra support needs will now have better access to inclusive child care, thanks to a three-year, $30-million investment as part of the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada.
“Extra support is often required to enable children with special needs and their families to access beneficial programs and services at an early age,” said Randeep Sarai, MP for Surrey Centre. “This is why the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Province, has made investments in child care a priority. Today’s announcement supports more inclusive early learning and child care that will allow more children in British Columbia to reach their full potential.”
This funding, announced in February 2018, reduces waitlists for inclusive child care and improves access to programs across the province for children with extra support needs.
“Every parent wants the best for their child, yet many families with children who have extra support needs have been struggling for years to find quality care,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development. “This investment is a key part of our vision of affordable, quality child care for every B.C. family who wants it.”
Supported Child Development (SCD) can include:
* one-on-one help for children who may need assistance during meals or to take part in activities with peers.
* information and training for child care staff to help them make their programming more inclusive, such as creating a visual schedule to help children better understand their daily routine, or allowing children to begin their day earlier to be better oriented before the day begins.
* working with families to link them to other local resources and support groups in the community, or to help them access medical and other needed services.
Aboriginal Supported Child Development (ASCD) programs offer SCD services within a cultural model so that Indigenous children with extra support needs can be included meaningfully in child care programs, both on and off reserve, while also learning about their heritage and culture.
“For too long, families with extra support needs have been ignored, and we’re working to fix that,” said Katrina Chen, B.C. Minister of State for Child Care. “We will test new funding models for supported child development programs as we work towards our long-term goal of a fully inclusive system under Childcare BC.”
This new funding will provide 1,000 children with access to child care with the help of SCD and ASCD programming.
The Province is investing more than $1 billion in child care over the next three years through Childcare BC, to move towards its long-term vision of a universal child care system in B.C.
Gerard Bremault, CEO of the Centre for Child Development said: “Many child care programs have struggled to offer support to include children with special needs because they don’t have the specialized capacity to do so. This additional investment from the Government of Canada and Province of B.C. significantly improves that capacity and really makes a difference for our families and so many around the province. The centre is B.C.’s largest child development centre, serving more than 3,100 children with special needs and their families throughout the South Fraser region.”
* In 2018-19, SCD and ASCD programs will receive a total of $82.5 million from government.
* This figure includes $10 million per year from the federal government as part of the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement to enhance SCD programming.
* Parents of children with extra support needs may also qualify for the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which provides up to $1,250 a month per child to help with the cost of child care.
* Parents may also be eligible for an additional $150 a month per child through the Affordable Child Care Benefit.