Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen (right) at À:lmèlhàwtxw Early Education Centre during a visit to Chilliwack in June. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

Parents at Chilliwack child care facility to pay just $200 per month

One of 53 centres across B.C. to see universal child care prototype project announced Friday

Jocelyn Thomas feels a little like her family won the child care lottery this week as the Chilliwack mother will see a huge reduction in monthly fees thanks to a provincial announcement Friday.

Elm Drive YMCA Child Care in Chilliwack is one of 53 facilities chosen across the province where families will now pay no more than $200 a month per child.

“I think it’s really good,” Thomas said. “There are a lot of families that will benefit from this, and even those naysayers without kids or with older kids, I think if it helped one family in our community, that’s a good thing.”

Three-year-old Clark Thomas attends Elm Drive YMCA Child Care, which was already one of the more affordable centres around. But at a current rate of $700 a month, the reduction means a savings to their family of $6,000 a year.

“It’s huge,” Thomas said. “For us personally, speaking with my husband, the money that we save we are going to put into a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) for our other son who has special needs, then he will have more money when we are not around.”

Other parents at Elm Drive might do something similar, and for others the savings can help with rent and food and other bills.

Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen announced the protoype project to reporters in Vancouver on Friday.

“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,” she said.

• READ MORE: 53 B.C. daycares move to $10-a-day pilot

“The communities where these prototype sites are located cover the full range of diversity in B.C.,” Chen said in a government press release. “They are located in Indigenous communities, many provide for children with complex care needs as well as communities struggling with issues of poverty. Seeing the results of this type of comprehensive care at this cost will deliver important insights for child care going forward.”

Approximately 300 child care operators applied for funding through the child care fee reduction initiative. In Chilliwack, 36 child care providers applied but only Elm Drive was chosen.

Elm Drive YMCA Child Care serves a large percentage of vulnerable families and is located in a neighbourhood where many families face issues of poverty, food security and the many challenges those issues present, according to the ministry’s press release. The centre also offers services and supports to new immigrant and refugee families.

Programming is designed to be inclusive and accessible to all children and the staff is given many training opportunities, including internal training conferences and workshops throughout the year.

“This project is a first step toward our long-term vision of universal child care in B.C.,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “We’re committed to making life more affordable for B.C. families, and the information we gather from these quality low-cost spaces will inform the future direction of our Childcare BC plan.”

The funding locally will allow Elm Drive YMCA Child Care to offer 37 licensed child care spaces to parents in Chilliwack. In all, parents of approximately 2,500 children throughout B.C. will benefit from the prototype project.

This project is funded through a $60-million investment as part of the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada.

Parents who are not accessing these low-cost spaces may still be eligible for support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which provides up to $1,250 per child a month for families with an annual income of $111,000 or less.

The pilot project will run until the end of March 2020.

Thomas said she eventually hopes the prototype is expanded to all child care centres so all parents can benefit.

“I would like to see it universal because even in higher income neighbourhoods there are still families that are struggling,” she said.

• READ MORE: B.C. starting universal daycare pilot program


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. parents missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in free money

Chilliwack financial advisor still banging the drum over unclaimed $1,200 RESP grant cash

Chilliwack’s Philomusica Chorus offers Mother’s Day music

Songs include Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Sentimental Journey at spring concert

Chilliwack driver busted with heroin after nodding off behind the wheel

29-year-old man from Vancouver facing possible charges

Vancouver TheatreSports finishes off Harrison’s Season of Performing Arts

Vancovuer TheatreSports will be performing in Harrison on May 4

Job market to remain tight in coming years: report

Conference Board of Canada predicts region’s unemployment rate to remain below five per cent

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

Mayors, First Nations chiefs, urge ‘immediate action’ on new Massey crossing

Joint letter asks province to move up timeline, consider only eight-lane tunnel options

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

Most Read