Two North Okanagan daycares are among 53 that the B.C. government is moving to a $10-a-day model, the minister responsible announced Friday.
Maven Lane, operated by the North Okanagan Child Care Society, and the Snc’c’amala?tn Early Childhood Education Centre, run by the Okanagan Indian Band, are part of the 53 projects chosen.
Roughly 2,500 parents who are those daycares’ existing clients will now pay a maximum of $200 per month, Minister of State for Childcare Katrina Chen told reporters in Vancouver.
“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,” Chen said.
Maven Lane executive director Hollie Henderson said finally being able to share the news with the community has been a long time coming, and she was moved to tears when listening to the reaction of the news from some of the families.
“As a designated prototype site, our families will pay no more than $10 per day or $200 per month per child for full-time care and education; the positive financial impact for both our families and the society is significant,” said Henderson.
“I was beyond excited to share the news with our families a few weeks back. It was truly a celebration. To hear the personal impact from a few families actually brought me to tears. To learn that this initiative will enable families to: “fill their fridge with food,” “insure their car so they don’t have to walk to school during the winter months” and “to be a working Mom again” painted a clear picture of the need for quality affordable child care and emphasized the need for a Universal Child Care System.”
Maven Lane looks after 60 kids aged 36 months and lower; 82 children aged three-to-five; 20 pre-school kids and 103 school-age children.
Snc’c’amala?tn Early Childhood Education Centre is supported by Syilx (Okanagan) Nation and offers opportunities for children to take part in daily cultural activities such as beading, drumming, dancing and language-learning. The centre also offers care to children with extra support needs, including early intervention services through a qualified Aboriginal speech therapy assistant.
Snc’c’amala?tn has 12 children under the age of 36 months, 20 aged three-to-five, 20 pre-school toddlers and 50 school-aged kids.
The prototype program began earlier this month, funded through a $60-million investment with the federal government.
The daycares taking part were selected based on more than 300 applications sent in June.
The pilot will run until the end of March 2020.