I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the North East Native Advancing Society (NENAS) for their successful application in receiving $500,000 in capital funding to build a new building with capacity for 32 children; 12 spaces for children under 36 months, 12 spaces for school-aged children, and 8 spaces for multi-aged care.
NENAS is a First Nations operated facility that provides child care in Fort St. John. Currently, NENAS provides service for First Nation children through their day care facility and they have a very strong cultural aspect in their training. The facility that NENAS operates their programs under is regulated by the Federal Government and is also federally funded and mandated for First nation’s children.
The Province of British Columbia is committed to creating opportunities where young children can smoothly transition from child care to school and older children can transition from the classroom to after-school care.
These new spaces will be open for First Nations children as well as non-First Nations children in the Fort St. John area.
NENAS was the successful applicant for the new day care spaces but I also want to say that NENAS was the only accepted application that was provided from our Region for these funds.
This program was one that allowed non-profit organizations to receive up to $500,000 and private organizations could have received as much as $250,000. The Ministry of Children and Family Development is adding 1,000 new day care spaces by March 2015 Province wide with this injection of funding. The Ministry is aiming to add another 1,000 day care spaces by March 2016 as well.
Our region has one of the highest birth rates in British Columbia and we can benefit greatly from future childcare funding. One of our region’s biggest struggles is access to child care; with our high birth rate it can be challenging to find safe and accessible child care.
The next application period for this major capital funding is early next year and it is my hope that there will be more successful applicants from this region in the next intake.
More funding for child care would assist our local families in need of care.