Alberta invests $242 million in child care

Additional funding recognizes unique circumstances in Fort McMurray

Alberta's new child-care plan will increase the availability of child care, help child-care operators recruit and retain staff and help low- and middle-income parents with the cost of child care. The provincial plan also targets additional resources for child care in Fort McMurray.

The government will invest $242 million over three years to support the creation of 14,000 new child care spaces in a variety of settings and fund a new subsidy for low- and middle-income families with children in Grades 1 to 6, effective Sept. 1.

“Parents are an essential part of our workforce, and they need more child care choices to help ensure their children get a good start in life,” said Minister of Children and Youth Services Janis Tarchuk. “We are providing our partners, including employers, municipalities, school jurisdictions and the child-care sector, with a range of tools to help address their communities’ child care needs.”

The province will also fund an extra $76 million in 2008-2009 for child-care subsidy rates and child care staff wage supplements that respond to Fort McMurray’s unique circumstances.

Highlights from the province's child-care plan include:

•extending the Northern Allowance of $1,040 per month to staff working in licensed out-of-school care programs in addition to staff working in licensed daycares;

•boosting wage top-ups by 60 per cent for staff working in licensed daycares and approved family day homes. This brings the government top-up to the salary provided by the employer to between $1.44 per hour to $6.62 per hour;

•introducing a new wage supplement of $144 per month for staff working in licensed out-of-school care programs;

•introducing two new subsidies for families with school-age children: a subsidy of $355 per month for Fort McMurray families accessing licensed out-of-school care programs and a Kin Child Care subsidy of up to $229 per month for families who have a relative looking after their child;

•allocating $42 million in capital funding over three years to support the creation of more child care spaces near schools;

•establishing an $8 million regional partnership fund to support innovative solutions to local child care needs;

•providing child care operators with an additional $150 per month for each infant space to offset the additional cost involved in offering infant care; and

•introducing a scholarship of $2,500 for students who have completed the child care orientation course in high school and have enrolled in an early childhood program at a post-secondary school.

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