In a time where finding affordable and reliable childcare in small communities is sometimes an insurmountable task, the Government of British Columbia is providing some much needed funding for child care providers across the province. (Black Press files)

Child care maintenance fund triples

Family providers have access for first time ever

In a time where finding affordable and reliable childcare in small communities is sometimes an insurmountable task, the Government of British Columbia is providing some much needed funding for child care providers across the province.

Per a news release issued by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, licensed family, in-home multi-age and private-group child care provides across British Columbia will now be able to access minor repair and replacement funds, as well a relocation funds for the first time ever.

“Before now, family, in-home and private group providers had to pay out of pocket for repair and facility upgrades,” said Katrine Conroy, the Minister of Children and Family Development. “We appreciate the work that family child care providers do, and want to help them succeed. That’s why, as part of Childcare BC, we’re helping more providers to cover costs, so they can focus on providing the quality care that families so desperately need.”

According to the news release, one of the major priorities for Childcare BC is expanding access to quality licensed care across the province. Therefore, funding available under the expanded Childcare BC Maintenance Fund has tripled to $1.2 million for 2018-2019.

Furthermore, the Province plans to invest more than $1 billion into Childcare BC over the next three years. This funding will ideally help lay the foundation for a universal child care model that will ensure affordable and quality childcare for anyone in B.C.

This particular funding allows child care providers to repair and replaces crucial items that relate to the maintenance of their facility, in order for them to meet proper licensing standards.

Per information provided in the press release, under this new and improved program, eligible child care providers can receive up to a maximum of $2000 for licensed family and in-home multi-age child care programs, while up to a maximum of $5000 can be made available for licensed private-group child care programs.

Furthermore, up to a maximum of $10,000 may be provided for licensed non-profit group child care programs, with up to a maximum of $25,000 being provided for eligible child care providers for costs associated with the relocation of a licensed group child care facility.

Per the news release, in order to be eligible for the funding, licensed group child care facilities providing care to children who fall under the 36 months and/or in three-years-to-kindergarten categories must be enrolled in the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.

“Families need access to licensed child care spaces throughout the province, and providers need more supports to keep these spaces open for families,” said Katrina Chen, the Minister of State for Child Care. “The new Childcare BC Maintenance Fund not only triples the amount of funding available, but also removes unnecessary requirements to access the funding in the first place.”

Under the previous guidelines, child care providers were required to apply for funding before implementing any emergency repairs. Due to the unpredictable nature of the child care profession, providers cannot always be sure as to when any repairs might be needed.

Under these new guidelines, however, providers are allowed to apply for reimbursement after emergency repairs have been completed, according to the news release.

In an effort to both streamline and simplify the program, the news release states that child care providers who apply for maintenance funding will no longer need licensing officers to support their maintenance funding application, whether that may be through inspection or incident reports.

Instead, ministry staff will now review applications to ensure the request supports the maintenance of their facility licence. This change frees up time for licensing officers to focus on regular licensing and inspection duties for all licensed child care facilities, per the news release.

Licensed group providers, including private organizations, non-profit societies, local governments, boards of education, public institutions and First Nations governments are all privy to access the Childcare BC Maintenance Fund.

Ultimately, the enhancements made to the Childcare BC Maintenance Fund are reportedly the first of multiple Childcare BC initiatives that are aimed at both building and maintaining licensed child care spaces around the province.

Further details regarding the accessibility measures — including grants for unlicensed providers — and the launch of a new and improved Childcare BC New Spaces fund will be introduced in the coming weeks.

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