MCFD photo

MCFD photo

MCFD to invest in child care on the North Island

North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre will receive part of the $30 million funding from BC.

Children with extra support needs will now have better access to child care, says Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). BC government will have invested $30 million in three years into an “Early Learning and Child Care” agreement with the federal government.

The funding, which was presented last February, will reduce waitlists for inclusive child care, MCFD’s online media release stated. The $30 million is planned to improve access to programs for children who have extra support needs, the release continued.

MCFD stated that Supported Child Development (SCD) could include “one-on-one help for children who may need assistance during meals or to take part in activities with peers,” the release stated.

The BC government agency also mentioned that the SCD program could also mean “information and training for child care staff to help them make their programming more inclusive,” the release added, “such as creating a visual schedule to help children better understand their daily routine, or allowing children to begin their day earlier to be better oriented before the day begins.”

MCFD will be “working with families to link them to other local resources and support groups in the community.”

For Indigenous children in BC, Aboriginal Supported Child Development (ASCD) programs will add a cultural model so that “Indigenous children with extra support needs can be included meaningfully in child care programs.” These programs will allow Indigenous children access to better child care while also learning about heritage and culture.

According to MCFD files, the North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society and the ‘Namgis First Nation on the North Island will receive part of the $30 million in funding.

The North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre (NICCCS) provides the SCD program currently. What that might look like for the North Island might include “a plan for the type of support and the available allocation of hours will be decided upon,” the organization’s website stated. “Types of services may include staffing support, or training for child care staff and families to ensure inclusion in daycare, preschool, and after school programs of their choice.”

Children could be referred to the SCD program by a parent, aboriginal infant development and infant development worker, early childhood educator, a nurse, a social worker, or a doctor.

“We work in close partnership with the North Island Aboriginal Infant Development Program and the Infant Development Program to facilitate every family’s connections to community resources,” NICCCS continued. “These three programs operate within a family-centered, strengths-based philosophy. Together, we honour North Island families and work collaboratively to support and respect them.”

MCFD expects that roughly 1,000 children will benefit from the funding for inclusive child care. In 2018-2019 the SCD and ASCD programs will have received a around $82.5 million from both the federal and provincial government.