FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has released its Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan, Everyone at their best… from the start: Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan, which details how the government will make investments to transform the system.
“Your government’s multi-year economic growth plan includes investing in education and early childhood development,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Through our early learning and child care action plan, we are investing to create more spaces to improve accessibility of child care, improve quality of child care, and help families that are struggling to pay for child care. With the child care registry, we will be able to better support parents who are looking for child care as well as create the right type of spaces where they are needed.”
In addition to the action plan, Gallant also announced the creation of a child care registry and the Infant Operator Grant.
The registry aims to benefit families as a one-stop shop to register their children for available child care spaces and have access to apply for subsidies online. Families will also be able to determine immediately whether spaces are available in a facility or if there is a wait list.
An Infant Operating Grant designed to offset the operational costs of infant care will be available. It will provide $10 per occupied infant space per day.
“I am happy to see governments recognize that child care for babies is an expensive service that most daycares are not able to offer, unfortunately,” said Vicky Fraser, director of Garderie L’Envolée. “Thanks to these investments, more daycares will be able to offer quality spaces for children aged two and under so that parents can go back to work.”
Today’s announcement is part of a larger framework of child care investments and early learning initiatives related to:
- Daycares in New Brunswick will be able to apply for a One-Time Quality Improvement Grant to increase the quality of both indoor and outdoor learning environments, including equipment and materials, for children aged five and under. The one-time grants will total $4.7 million over the next two years.
- $7.5 million in annual Quality Grants will be provided to help the facilities deliver high-quality child care services and meet the criteria of becoming a designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centre. The funding equates to a daily funding enhancement of $2.50 per space per day for children aged two to five years old. All early learning centre operators will be required to develop a plan for continuous quality improvement.
- New Brunswick Early Learning Centres will offer services to preschool children aged five and under through a voluntary application process. Daycares are not required to be part of this program. Those that choose to do so will work in collaboration with the government with the aim of offering equitable and affordable access to high-quality early learning and child care services by removing barriers linked to family income, children’s abilities and needs, language and minority settings.
- The government is investing $28 million, in addition to the multi-year bilateral funding, to support wage increases for early childhood educators. The funding will be rolled out over four years beginning in 2019-20 and raise wages from $16 an hour to $19 an hour for trained early childhood educators by 2022-23.
- Transforming as many child care facilities as possible, with an aim of designating more than 300 as New Brunswick Early Learning Centres by 2020 to offer more affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality early learning and child care services.
- Early Learning Centres will also receive support to help increase the number of infant spaces across the province by 200 by the year 2020.
- Since October 2014 the provincial government has created nearly 3,000 new spaces and plans to expand the total number of spaces in New Brunswick to 30,000 by 2020.
- The government is committed to investing in access to affordability for those New Brunswickers who need it the most.
- Enhanced financial support measures for preschool-aged children five and under will be unveiled in the near future.
Today’s announcement is part of the federal-provincial, three-year early learning and child care agreement that commits $71 million to improve early learning and child care for preschool-aged children in the province.