Since 2003, as a result of provincial government funding and initiatives, there have been 12 new centres established - both for-profit and non-profit, creating an additional 323 child care spaces in the western region. Currently, there are two centres working through the funding and licensing process for non-profit, community-based organizations, which will result in an additional 50 spaces.
It is the department's understanding that there are some centres in Corner Brook and Stephenville that have vacancies in the preschool age group. In the more rural areas of the region, said a department spokesperson via email, preschool programs typically have space for all the children in the community that are of preschool age.
When it comes to creating more child care spaces, the government has increased the number of regulated child care spaces by 70 per cent - from 4,609 spaces in 2003 to 7,815 as of June 2014.
This was accomplished through a number a ways.
The Child Care Capacity Initiative provides start-up and/or operating grants to non-profit community-based organizations that develop regulated child care in under-serviced areas of the province. Through this initiative, more than 20 centres and 465 spaces have been created.
The Family Child Care Initiative provides $5,000 start-up grants to family child care providers, $7,500 for infant homes. It also offers operating grants of $200 a month per infant to infant homes. From 2011 to 2013, this initiative created more than 400 spaces in more than 60 homes.
The provincial government continues to implement the 10-year child care strategy, Caring For Our Future, focusing on a quality, sufficient and affordable child care system. Budget 2014 allocated an additional $11.4 million for child care services, bringing the province's total child care budget to about $42.5 million in 2014-15.