An ambitious five-year agenda called "Family Choices" will mean more accessible, quality, low-fee child care for Manitoba families, Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh announced at the press release for the agenda. Following on the success of the Five- Year Plan for Child Care (2002-2007), Manitoba has introduced Family Choices: Manitoba's Five-Year Agenda for Early Learning and Child Care in Manitoba. The 12 points of action in Family Choices set an ambitious agenda to maintain and improve early learning and child care in Manitoba.
Family Choices includes:
1. 6,500 more funded child-care spaces
2. Nursery school for 1,300 more children
3. Family Choices Building Fund
4. Child-care safety charter
5. Age-appropriate curricula and enhanced program quality
6. Centralized online wait-list
7. Lowest fees outside Quebec
8. Greater inclusion
9. More flexible hours
10. Stronger workforce
11. Strategic expansion
12. Stronger parental stewardship
In the first year of the Family Choices agenda there will be:
• funding for 1,500 more child-care spaces,
• funding for 100 more children in nursery school,
• a three per cent overall increase for wages effective July 1 plus a low-wage adjustment,
• equalization of tuition for early childhood education students at rural Red River College sites, and
• safety charter implementation assistance for all child-care facilities.
The total new investment for 2008-09 is $7.75 million. It is estimated that funding for child care will increase to $201.8 million over the five-year plan, up from $109.8 million in 2007-08.