07/27/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/27/2020 09:05
Families in Pitt Meadows will have access to 59 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province's ongoing commitment to increase child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
School District 42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Vancouver to operate the spaces at what will be a new child care facility at Davie Jones Elementary school.
'Adding child care to school grounds is a win for everyone. The project will give kids a smoother transition into kindergarten and offer parents the convenience of a one-stop drop-off and pick-up location,' said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. 'The YMCA's inclusive, play-based curriculum will set children on a path to lifelong learning.'
Childcare BC's New Spaces Fund is supporting the school district to create 25 spaces for children aged three to five years, 10 spaces for preschool children and 24 for school-aged children. These spaces are expected to open by March 2022.
'Many families in our school district struggle to find child care. Adding a new stand-alone child care facility with nearly sixty spaces at Davie Jones Elementary is welcome news for parents in Pitt Meadows and our entire school community,' said Korleen Carreras, chair, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education. 'We are grateful for this investment in our children and families and know that it will benefit our community for years to come.'
Recent changes made by government to the School Act will make it even easier for school boards to create and operate before- and after-school care. The changes will require school boards to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy.
'For too long, families throughout B.C. have struggled to find quality, affordable child care close to home,' said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. 'We're making it easier for child care to be delivered on school properties because children benefit when they spend more time in spaces that are already designed for enrichment and play, and families save time and money with one central drop-off location in their neighbourhoods.'
July 2020 marks the second anniversary of the launch of the New Spaces Fund, which has approved an average of 700 new spaces for funding each month. So far, nearly 16,800 new spaces have been funded throughout the province, helping parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.
'Providing quality, affordable and inclusive child care goes hand in hand with a strong, vibrant economy,' said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. 'By funding nearly 16,800 new licensed spaces throughout the province, our government is helping more parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities knowing that when they drop their kids off in the morning, they'll get the nurturing support they need to grow and thrive.'
These new spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.'s history. An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, means that more than 20,900 new licensed spaces have been funded since July 2017.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
For information on health and safety standards for child care, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
For more information on child care in Pitt Meadows, visit the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Child Care Resource and Referral centre: https://www.comservice.bc.ca/programs-services/children-youth-family-services/childcare/childcare-resource-referral-program
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
A backgrounder follows.