Revelstokians that have children in licensed childcare are surely to be looking forward to April as the NDP Government will be bringing relief to the cost of childcare. Licensed child care facilities can choose to opt into the new program and parents with children up to kindergarten age will see the financial benefit.
Revelstoke is in a unique position as our group facilities are run by a Society, which is one of the reasons that childcare fees in Revelstoke have been better than other markets, however, the good news is Revelstoke Childcare Society (Cornerstones & Stepping Stones) have opted into the program.
Joanne Wisener, Manager of Care at Cornerstones told the Revelstoke Current “It was mid month (March) it was very quick and Linda opted in right away. So parents will notice their bill is reduced next month (April).
As of right now, the cost for Childcare in Revelstoke varies based on age and whether it is part time or full time, licensed family or a group facility.
Licensed Group Child Care:
For an infant 0-36 months old in full time group childcare the cost is $46.00 per day costing Mom and Dad $920.00 per month (based on 20 working days a month).
For a 3-5 year old in full time group childcare the cost is $40.00 per day costing $800.00 per month (based on 20 working days a month).
For parents who can’t pick up kids when the bell rings mid-afternoon, there is $14 a day after school care from 2:30pm-5:30pm. Early dismissal days costs parents $25.00 for the day and on Professional Days, it is $40.00.
Licensed Family Child Care: (Each licensed family care providers rates vary)
For an infant 0-36 months old in full time licensed family child care the average is $50.00 per day costing $1000.00 per month (based on 20 working days a month)
For a 3-5 year old in full time licensed family childcare the average cost is $46.00 per day costing $920.00 per month (based on 20 working days a month)
The fee reduction will help families by saving them up to:
$350 per month for each infant child 0-36 months in licensed group care
$200 per month for each infant child 0-36months in licensed family care
$100 per month for each child 3 years old-kindergarten in group care
$60 per month for each child 3 years old-kindergarten in licensed family care
For those who care providers opt in to the program in licensed family they will see a financial benefit, but not as much as children enrolled in group centres. The funding amounts are based on the overall provincial average, which licensed group centres on average are much higher than licensed family centres.
Licensed Family childcare provider, Mandy McQuarrie who has opted into the new program claimed, “I will be required to submit monthly reports with how many children I have enrolled, their ages and how often they attend. The automated funding system will pro-rate amounts for children who attend part time and they will send me a cheque based on the information I have given them. I am then required to give that exact amount per child as a parent fee reduction on the families invoice. It doesn’t hurt me financially, the families will see the benefit, but it is certainly more administrative work. The government is offering a 10% increase to the Childcare Operating Funding Program (CCOF) to anyone who opts into the new parent fee reduction program to help cover the administrative costs, but is certainly not is not equivalent to the amount of time involved with executing the new initiative. I do feel it is a step in the right direction towards a universal childcare system.”
This fee reduction is not subject to family income. If a child is registered in a licensed group or licensed family centre that opts into this new program, they are entitled to this fee reduction. McQuarrie had concerns that parents are simply unaware of who is eligible for the reduction or that it is based on family income.
“Fortunately in our community we are all very connected so for the most part communication will be there, but in a bigger city it will definitely be more challenging.”
Minister of State for Child care Katrina Chen stated in a press release, “Child care is one of the largest expenses for families, and the fee reduction will help make their lives more affordable. For some families, that may be the difference between being able to buy groceries or having to pay for child care, and we’ve heard from others how relieved they were when they found out what they would be saving each month.”
This reduction will also help the providers with their programs in terms of competitive edge as they will be supporting local families that are in the program save money with the lower monthly costs. The facilities that participate in the program receive a 10% increase onto of their individual base funding to support the operational expenses.
The Provincial Budget has dedicated $630 million over the next three years to help families save money and still receive top notch care. Once this new program is fully subscribed too, it is expected to help 50,000 families across British Columbia.
The provincial investment in early care and learning is supplemented by approximately $153 million in federal funding over three years, beginning in 2017-18, through a bilateral Early Learning and Child care (ELCC) Framework Agreement.
The design of this is to allow mothers to get back into the workforce and not feel the pressure of working just to pay for the child care cost. If this new program is a success, in time more facilities will be needed. the government has anticipated this and in 2018-19, the Province will focus on creating more infant and toddler child care spaces throughout the province, as well as reducing monthly child care costs for B.C. families.
Premiere John Horgan stated in the release, “Parents in every corner of B.C. will start seeing their child care bills go down next month. These fee reductions will offer families relief, and help people, particularly women, return to work. No one should be forced to choose between child care and other family needs.”
This is just one aspect to savings for B.C. families. In addition to the child care reduction initiative, in September a new affordability measure will benefit families by reducing child care costs for lower-income families up to $1,250.00 per month.
In order to maximize the number of families receiving benefits next month, the government has extended the deadline for child care providers to opt in to April’s fee reduction until April 20, 2018. After that date, providers can sign up for the new initiative at any time, although a note is anyone who signs up at a later date, are not eligible for retro pay.