Minister replies to Nelson letter on childcare providers
To the Editor:
Re: “May proclaimed Child Care Month, yet child care providers face difficult reality,” May 20.
As the proud parent of an early childhood educator, I have seen firsthand the dedication and commitment our province’s childcare and early learning professionals bring to their work each day.
These professionals are an integral part of the healthy development of thousands of young children and give B.C. parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children are safe, happy and well cared for. During Child Care Month, we celebrate their extraordinary contributions.
Supporting quality childcare through a strong, stable and flexible system that accommodates a variety of parent and child needs continues to be a priority for this government.
This year alone, we will spend $296 million on childcare – a 40 per cent increase since 2000/01 – more than $150 million of that funding is dedicated to supporting children from low and moderate income families.
While the ministry is not responsible for the payment of individual child care providers, we do provide more than $65 million in annual operating funding to licensed group and family child care facilities – funds, in turn, which may be used to support staff wages.
The median wage for Early Childhood Educators rose to over $17 per hour in 2010/11. Despite the fiscal challenges of the past few years, I’m pleased to say that the number of supported licensed child care spaces has continued to grow across the province and has grown to over 660 in the Nelson area alone.
I want to assure your readers that my ministry – and this government – continues to look at ways to improve our province’s child care system to ensure it meets the diverse needs of the children and families it serves.
This government has made a commitment to put families first – and childcare is an important part of that commitment. Please join me this month – Child Care Month – in recognizing the extraordinary work of childcare providers across the province.
Minister of Children and Family Development