April brings relief to some B.C. parents
British Columbia parents with children in licensed care will start seeing child care savings of up to $350 a month as early as April, said Premier John Horgan this morning (March 28).
“Parents in every corner of B.C. will start seeing their child care bills go down next month,” Horgan said. “These fee reductions will offer families relief, and help people, particularly women, return to work. No one should be forced to choose between child care and other family needs.”
The child care fee reduction is available to families with children up to kindergarten age, who go to licensed child care and whose providers opt in.
“Parents have been left to struggle with rising child care costs for too long,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy. “The child care fee reduction is the first step toward bringing down sky-high child care costs so that families can get ahead.”
To date, providers have applied for fee reductions for more than 18,000 children, and more providers are opting in to savings for families every day, says a joint Office of the Premier and Ministry of Children and Family Development press release.
The fee reduction will save parents up to:
* $350 per month for each child in group infant and toddler care;
* $200 per month for each child in family infant and toddler care;
* $100 per month for each child in group care for children aged three years to kindergarten;
* $60 per month for each child in family care for children aged three years to kindergarten.
“Child care is one of the largest expenses for families, and the fee reduction will help make their lives more affordable,” said Minister of State for Child care Katrina Chen. “For some families, that may be the difference between being able to buy groceries or having to pay for child care, and we’ve heard from others how relieved they were when they found out what they would be saving each month.”
In order to maximize the number of families receiving benefits next month, the government reports it has extended the deadline for child care providers to opt in to April’s fee reduction until April 20.
After that date, providers can sign up for savings for future months at any time.
The child care fee reduction will help providers keep their program competitive with other programs in their community, and support the families in their programs by lowering their monthly child care costs. Those who choose to participate will receive an increase of 10% on top of their individual base funding to support operational expenses.
“As early childhood educators, we carry a core belief that children and families, who are supported in the early years, have better outcomes as they carry on in their journey,” said Susan Hall-Ford, general manager for the Douglas College Early Childhood Education Society. “In our daily interactions, we have a responsibility to mitigate barriers wherever possible. By introducing the child care fee reduction, this government has inevitably broken down barriers and will continue to do so moving forward.”
When fully subscribed, the fee reduction is expected to help approximately 50,000 B.C. families with the cost of child care each month, the joint news release proffers.
The last provincial budget is investing more than $1 billion into child care over the next three years “to help lay the foundation for a universal child care system that will provide access to affordable, quality child care for anyone in B.C. who wants or needs it,” the press release says.