Since the Province has launched its new child care matching service, more than 2,500 essential service workers across B.C. have been referred to open spaces for their children.
The service was launched less than a month ago and has allowed essential service workers around the province to drop their children off with licensed child care professionals in their community.
According to the Provincial Government, the process matches parents working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic who have children under five years old with available local child care spaces.
The province has prioritized workers in social services, law enforcement, health care and first responders, with additional spaces going to other essential employees.
For children over five years old, the Ministry of Education has been working with B.C.’s public and independent schools to organize in-school supports during regular schooling hours, and access to care before and after.
The B.C. Government said that it has provided $38 million to ensure that child care facilities remain open and can provide essential service workers with access to reliable child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 16th, funding has been provided to 2,530 child care centres to offer 58,650 spaces though the Province’s Temporary Emergency Funding Program.
The Province said that centres receiving funding are also eligible for its Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative to reduce costs for parents by subsidizing and reducing monthly fees.
Funding is also being provided to help cover fixed costs of child care providers that have closed due to the virus, so they may reopen. The Province said that just over 1,400 facilities have closed through the province, which are now receiving two times their monthly funding. Licensed home-based child care providers are also eligible for supports.
The B.C. government is prohibiting facilities that are receiving funding from charging parents for any periods of closure or for any vacant spaces while they are open, including when a parent withdraws a child due to COVID-19.
Parents who can take care of their children at home are asked to do so, to keep spaces available for essential service employees.
Applications for child care for essential workers can be found here.
*** Story by Ryley McCormack ***