Too few families in B.C. have access to affordable, quality child care that meets their needs. Existing supports and subsidies have not kept pace with the rising costs of care, leaving many families struggling to pay more than they can afford.
In terms of quality, the lack of availability of licensed child care in B.C. is a major issue, with licensed spaces only available to a small percentage of all children aged 0-12 years. This has left many parents iwthout the assurance that their child's care provider is regularly monitored and that staff have the required training to meet the needs of young kids.
The expansion of licensed child care and the overall improvement of care across the province are hampered by the fact that there are not enough certified Early Childhood Educators to adequately staff existing and future child care spaces.
Budget 2018 delivers over $1 billion in new investments in child care and early learning over the next three years. This is the biggest committment to child care in B.C. history and it lays the foundation for universal child care province-wide.
Universal care can't be delivered overnight, but- done right- will mean that all children will be able to find space at licensed family homes and child care centres. What's more, their parents will be able to afford to send them there.
It will take time to achieve this vision- just as it took time to create public health care and to deliver public education to all children. But, by bringing fees down for parents, building more licensed spaces, and increasing the number of qualified Early Childhood Educators to support young children's care and learning needs, we are bringing universal child care closer to reality.