FAMILIES will have new options for child care on school grounds and through recreation-based programs, thanks to recent changes to the Province’s Child Care Licensing Regulation.
“Giving families better access to quality, licensed child care is a key part of our Childcare BC plan for inclusive, universal child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, on Thursday. “For too long there were barriers to creating child care spaces on school grounds. Last year’s changes to the School Act combined with these regulation improvements will enable more child care programs to be offered on school grounds and through local recreation programs, making pickups and drop-offs easier for parents and giving kids a safe place to go after school.”
To support access to quality child care, the Province is creating two new licensing categories in the regulations: school-age care on school grounds and recreational care.
“This is good news for people around B.C. who are seeking child care supports,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Our government is taking strong action to provide assistance to families who need child care and these changes by the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Children and Family Development, will go a long way in helping both those with children and those places that offer child care programs.”
Child care providers operating licensed child care under the new School Age Care on School Grounds category will be exempt from requirements related to minimum amount of usable floor space, washroom facilities and outdoor play areas because schools are already designed to be safe for children.
This new category builds on the changes government made to the School Act that require school boards to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy. The changes to the act and to the regulation better support school districts and partners to directly provide before- and after-school care on school grounds.
“Bringing child care and education together is a significant step in our plan to create a universal, integrated and inclusive early care and learning system here in B.C.,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “That’s why we are giving school districts the supports they need to increase capacity and play a stronger and more seamless role in providing child care services.”
The second change to the Child Care Licensing Regulation includes the introduction of a new Recreational Care licence category that will enable flexible drop-in and after-school recreation care programs. Recreational care is for after-school drop-in programs run by organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, the United Way and the YMCA. Providers licensed under this new category will have fewer physical space and programming restrictions.
* Licensing for child care facilities is administered under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.
* The act and the Child Care Licensing Regulation establish the minimum health and safety requirements for licensed child care providers.
* The School Age Care on School Grounds category aligns licensing regulations for school-aged children with the safety protocols that school districts already have in place.