Revelstoke’s Stepping Stones has been selected from 328 applicants to be one of 53 prototype projects around the province to limit childcare costs at $200 a month per child. The prototype is being funded through a $60 million investment under the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement with the Government of Canada. The facilities are able to reduce to their fees so drastically thanks to government funding to cover operational and administrative costs.“We knew we had to apply, because the prototype would be the future of child care and if we were fortunate enough to be selected it would be so benefit to the families we provide care for,” says Linda Chell, Executive Director of the Revelstoke Child Care Society (RCCS).
“The RCCS Board and staff are honoured to have been selected as one of the 53 universal child care prototype sites, allowing us to be on the cutting edge of one of the largest social changes in British Columbian history,” says Chell.
Stepping Stones is part of the RSSC, a not for profit group formed in 1989. The society is dedicated to supporting local families access safe and affordable childcare while growing and evolving with the community’s needs. The Stepping Stones facility was able to boost their infant/toddler spaces just last week thanks to funding from the Columbia Basin Trust from eight to 20 infant and toddler spaces. Stepping Stones also has 16 three-five year old spaces. All are covered by the new prototype funding.
The slashed cost of childcare is a boon for many Revelstoke parents. Not wanting to be named, one local woman informed The Revelstoke Current that she found half of her paycheck, nearly a $1,000 dollars, was going towards childcare. While prices vary depending on the facility, type of care and even the child’s age, in some cases the cost has been reduced by more than two thirds for families.
“This project takes a major step towards universal child care in British Columbia. The demand for this program was so strong that we expanded it to cover more children and more sites in every region of the province in the prototype stage,” said Katrine Conroy, federal Minister of Children and Family Development. “We want to make life more affordable for families, and this investment will demonstrate the low-cost, high-quality care B.C. parents can look forward to as we fully implement ChildCare BC.”
In 2019, each selected site will receive a one time improvement grant. Amounts to be distributed have yet to be determined.
The province will be given feedback by each selected site as to the programs effectiveness. “Prototype sites give us a glimpse of what the future of universal child care in B.C. can be, and are critical as we design and refine our program moving forward,” said Katrina Chen, B.C.’s Minister of State for Child Care. “They build on the work we’ve already done to bring affordability relief to thousands of families through universal fee reductions and the Affordable Child Care Benefit.”
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. Families using licensed child care may also see savings through the Child Care Fee Reduction, which has so far helped to reduce the cost of almost 52,000 child care spaces throughout the province.
Congratulations to everyone at the Revelstoke Child Care Society on being selected.