Monday, June 8, 2015

Native News

The Best Start

MLA Throness secures funding for new child care spaces

Released by the BC Gov't Caucus/Handout photo

 

 

s part of Child Care Month in B.C., the provincial government is investing $416,163 under the BC Early Years Strategy to create 28 new licensed child-care spaces for families in southwestern B.C.

 

The Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society will use the funding to construct a new facility dedicated to children and family development. The Xa’Xtsa Early Childhood Development and Family Hub will be located in Tipella, and will provide 10 preschool spaces, 10 school-age spaces and eight multi-age spaces for the community.

Funding will also be used to create on-site housing accommodations for staff and implement an Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve-inspired program, which will focus on education, nutrition and health awareness, cultural language, social support and encouraging parental and family involvement.

 

“Enhancing early childhood development and family services in remote communities is a priority for our government,” said West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy. “These programs teach children to interact and socialize and forge a path to future success. This project will help families in Tipella build healthy relationships and support systems within the community, and I’m very pleased we are able to provide this financial support.”

“There have been numerous studies that indicate children will benefit throughout their entire lifetime if more attention is paid to their early development,” said Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness. “This new facility is going to have a positive impact in Tipella for generations.”

“We are very excited with the announcement,” said Chief Don Harris of the Xa’xtsa (Douglas) First Nation. “Having child care further enhances the growth of our community by providing quality Early Childhood Education, enabling community members to take advantage of employment created. The benefits of early childhood development through childcare programs will enhance the quality of life for the whole community.”

“I am encouraged by the Ministry’s support of the Xa’Xtsa Early Childhood Development and Family Hub Project. The partnership with Douglas First Nation to create dedicated space for children and family programs in Tipella will establish programs that reflect the values and rich culture of the Southern Stl’atl’imx people,” said Jeanne Cameron Leeson, Early Childhood Development Coordinator for the Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society. “This project is the realization of an extensive process of community consultation and planning, and the positive impact for children and families in Tipella, and the neighbouring communities of Skatin and Q’alatku7em, will be considerable.”

 

In January 2015, the provincial government encouraged child-care providers to apply for the second round of major capital funding to create new licensed child-care spaces throughout B.C. These new spaces are part of government’s commitment to support the creation of more than 2,000 new spaces by March 2016.

 

Non-profit child-care providers could apply for up to $500,000, while private child-care providers could apply for up to $250,000. Priority was given to applications for child-care spaces in underserved areas of B.C. and on school grounds, where children can smoothly transition from early years programs, to the classroom, to after-school care.

 

This investment marks the second phase of major capital funding for child-care providers, and will allow them to:

• Build a new child-care facility, including the cost of buying land or a building.
• Purchase and assemble a modular building and develop a site.
• Renovate an existing building.
• Buy eligible equipment (including playground equipment) and furnishings to support new child-care spaces in an existing facility.

The provincial government is now in the process of working with child-care providers to sign project agreements that include the specific requirements that providers have identified for each site, such as the need to lease or buy property, obtain local zoning permits and hire contractors to renovate the sites. The Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society hopes to have construction of the Xa’Xtsa Early Childhood Development and Family Hub underway before the end of the summer.

 

The BC Early Years Strategy is an eight-year government commitment to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young children. For more information on the Child Care Major Capital Funding Program visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/major_capital.htm.

 

 

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