Fernwood NRG’s Child Care programs are Victoria’s only location for BC’s new Universal Child Care Prototype

›› Lee Herrin

After months of applications and meetings with the Province of BC, Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group’s Child Care Program has been selected as the only Victoria location for BC’s new Universal Child Care Prototype.

This means families in Fernwood NRG’s child care programs will pay a maximum of $10 per day, to a maximum of $200 per month, through the end of March 2020. The prototypes are being funded through an investment of $60 million from the ­federal government.

“The Government of Canada believes that early learning and child care services should be affordable for all families,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of ­Parliament for North Vancouver. “Today’s announcement is a big step towards ensuring that children get the best start in life and in delivering better high-quality and affordable child care for families across British Columbia.”

“We are finding new ways to make it easier for families to get by every month and to save for the future,” said Premier John Horgan. “Through this…where we significantly reduce the cost of child care, we can make life more affordable for so many BC families.”

This prototype is a huge benefit for Fernwood families, as we heard so clearly in a note from a parent of a child in ­Fernwood NRG Child Care. “I’m honestly fighting back tears right now. I know that it’s a ­prototype, and there is a finite end date…but until then the weight that has been lifted off our shoulders is huge!”

Fernwood NRG has 99 child care spaces between the Fernwood Community ­Centre and George Jay School, all of which are covered by the prototype initiative. All of Fernwood’s spaces are currently full, as is the wait pool to fill any vacancies that may arise in the foreseeable future.

Earlier this year, Fernwood NRG ­supported a School District 61 proposal to obtain capital funding from the ­Province to build purpose-built portables for ­additional child care spaces at George Jay School. This capital funding is expected to be announced in the Spring of 2019.