Victoria: Thousands of families struggling to find quality, affordable childcare got a boost last month with up to $350 in child care savings thanks to our government’s commitment to quality affordable child care. May is child care month, and an opportunity to reflect of the importance role this service plays in our lives.
For too long, too many parents have been left to struggle to find affordable, quality child care for their kids. The high cost and low availability of quality care forced many parents to stay home, and that left businesses without the workers they needed to grow and succeed.
That’s why we have chosen to make the biggest investment in child care in our province’s history with Child Care B.C. The goal of Child Care B.C. is to give every parent who needs it access to quality child care at a price they can afford.
We started in April, by cutting child care fees with the Fee Reduction Initiative. Licensed child care centres in every part of the province are opting-in to savings for families.
Child care fees have already been reduced for over 25,000 children, with more being approved for savings every day. Parents with kids in participating daycares are saving up to $350 every month, a big break for young families.
Starting in September, parents of children in licensed care will receive even more help with the Affordable Child Care Benefit. This benefit will be available to any family making up to $111,000 with young children in licensed care. Making child care more affordable is just the beginning. We are also investing $237 million to fund more than 22,000 new, licensed child care spaces over the next three years.
This funding will help more families get their kids off of waitlists and into the child care they need. This will allow more parents return to work when they are ready, and help businesses find and keep employees. We will also help existing unlicensed spaces become licensed, giving more parents access to the savings we are offering and the security and peace of mind that comes with quality child care.
Quality child care is an opportunity for early learning. The early years are some of the most important years in a child’s life. With the help of Early Childhood Educators, affordable, quality child care can help kids get a head start. As we expand the number of spaces and help existing, unlicensed spaces transition to licensed care, we will need more of these early learning experts.
We are helping more people get trained for this important and rewarding career. Bringing down barriers that discourage people from working in child care will be key to improving child care for everyone.
We can’t achieve our ambitious child care goals unless we work together — with parents, child care providers and communities. Together, we can boost our economy and make life easier for parents, by investing in our province’s kids.
This Child Care Month marks a turning point for B.C. – towards a new day for families. We have a lot to celebrate, and so much more to do.