A Penticton location was selected to test funding and operational models to move British Columbia towards a universal child care system.
Kinderplace OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre is one of 53 prototype sites that will be operational until March 31, 2020. They operate with 20 spaces for children under 36 months, 32 spaces for children ages three to five years and 20 preschool spaces.
“Prototype sites give us a glimpse of what the future of universal childcare in B.C. can be, and are critical as we design and refine our program moving forward,” said Minister of State for Childcare Katrina Chen.
Families will pay no more than $200 per month per child for full-time enrolment during regular business hours, regardless of the care type. According to the province, for some low-income families, child care could be free.
As a component of the prototype sites, the ministry is also launching an inclusion pilot-project to explore new approaches to including children with extra support needs in child care programs. The learning will assist with identifying the benefits and challenges of supporting inclusive child care.
The prototype site initiative and related funding are limited to the number of spaces identified at the time of the application.
The sites must accept families eligible to receive the Affordable Child Care Benefit. Households with an annual income of $111,000 (or more depending on factors like the type of child care, child’s age and the family income) can be eligible. Families earning $45,000 or less per year may be eligible to receive a benefit of up to $10 per day, which would result in their receiving free child care. Families earning $45,000 to $111,000 (or more depending on circumstance) may be eligible to receive a pro-rated benefit, resulting in them paying less than $10 per day. Parent fees are capped at $200 per month per child for full-time enrolment during regular business hours.
The information learned from the sites will help with decisions regarding the future expansion of universal child care. According to the B.C. government, after the 18-month trial the ministry is able to continue with the initiative, current prototype sites will continue under a new funding mechanism. If the ministry is unable to continue with the initiative, the sites will revert to their previous operation funding models.
The program is funded through the province’s Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada. The province is investing $60 million to covert around 2,5000 licensed child care spaces, with a priority on infant and toddler spaces, into low-cost spaces at existing child care facilities across B.C.
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