Child care study

Child care study money a step towards $10 a day care — advocate

Diane Strandberg / March 22, 2019

Grants totaling $75,000 for child care planning in Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam won’t solve the daycare crisis today but will go a long way towards the implementation of a $10-a-day plan, says a B.C. advocate.

“It’s another important step towards it,” said Sharon Gregson of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. “We have to make sure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and the way to do that is to have public parties and cities and school districts plan for a daycare system so we move from a crazy patchwork of what happens now towards a well-planned system of where we expand and how we expand.”

This week the Ministry of Children and Family Development announced that the three cities had each received $25,000 as part of a province-wide roll out of $1.3 million in funding for local planning grants.

Money is expected to help cities create an inventory of existing child care spaces, identify how many child care spaces are needed now and how many will be needed over the coming years, as well as the type of child care that is needed.

Information will be shared with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to help inform future provincial child care investments, according to a government press release.

While the money won’t bring 10-a-day child care to the Tri-Cities right away, Gregson said it’s an important part of a provincial system.

It comes as the province is trying out a pilot project that converted 50 facilities across B.C. into $200 a month child care spaces. The project, which costs about $60 million, will continue until 2020.

Gregson said the NDP-government plan to move towards $10-a-day care won’t eliminate private childcare but will ensure standards for quality, decent pay for early child care workers and low fees for families.

All three cities had to apply for the Union of BC Municipalities grant to be able conduct more research.

Plans are for online surveys for parents and child care providers, an open house to talk about the issues, visits to local child care centers, interviews with community partners, a workshop co-hosted jointly by the cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody and targeted interviews with parents and child care providers with unique needs and supports.

The target date for completing the strategy is early 2020.

The research is being done as School District 43 launches a task force to look into ways to promote more child care spaces in the region.

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