Minister of Children and Family Development of British Columbia, Katrine Conroy, visited Vernon daycares. (Jennifer Blake - Morning Star)

Vernon tests out two $10/day childcare sites

Katrine Conroy came to Vernon to tour universal child care prototype sites, including the one at Maven Lane

Minister of Children and Family Development of British Columbia, Katrine Conroy, came to Vernon to tour prototype sites and talk to parents and others at these sites.

Two North Okanagan daycares are among 53 that the B.C. government is moving to a $10-a-day model.

“We had a significant number of organizations apply and we were looking for inclusivity. So providing services to children with extra needs, working with First Nations community, providing infant and toddler care, a different range of care,” said Conroy.

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 two of the 53 projects chosen.

“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,” Minister of State for Childcare Katrina Chen told reporters in Vancouver.

Conroy wants to make sure parents can access affordable childcare, as many parents struggle to afford healthy food for their children and housing due to child care costs.

“Parents are telling us that this is the first time ever they’re going to be able to afford to buy a house, to afford to buy a car,” said Conroy.

Conroy stresses the importance of early childcare and having it be accessible.

“You learn 85 per cent of what you’re going to learn from the ages of zero to five,” said Conroy. “If you have good quality education, it makes such a difference in the rest of your life.”

Conroy said that the prototype isn’t their only initiative.

“We are asking the community to look at building more child care spaces,” said Conroy.

Conroy said that they also have an initiative where people can apply for capital funding.

“In Vernon, we’re hoping that there’s going to be a collaboration between the city and outlying area school districts to look at ways that we can expand the childcare spaces,” said Conroy

Related: Two North Okanagan daycares move to $10-a-day pilot

Related: More available child care spaces coming to the Okanagan

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