Nearly 3,500 new child care spaces to open in 51 Alberta communities
April 14, 2008
Edmonton… Investments in child care over the past year are helping to create almost 3,500 new child care spaces. Opening across Alberta in 2008, these new spaces will ease some of the challenges families face when looking for quality child care, especially in fast-growing communities in the Calgary area and in northeast and east central Alberta. In addition to these spaces, government will take action to support the creation of 14,000 more child care spaces by 2011.“Quality, affordable child care is an important part of the mandate set out for me by Premier Stelmach. We are working with key stakeholders to come up with innovative solutions to support the creation of additional spaces in a variety of settings, such as family day homes, nursery schools, day cares and out of school care programs,” said Janis Tarchuk, Minister of Children and Youth Services. “We are making progress and I’m confident that we will find solutions to help communities better meet the needs of families requiring child care.”
With the Space Creation Innovation funding, operators can access up to $1,500 for each new space to help offset the costs of planning, minor renovations and purchasing supplies, equipment and toys. The fund is helping 106 applicants who operate either urban or rural programs to open new child care spaces in 51 communities before the end of the year. Plans are in place to create new spaces in the following parts of the province:
Communities – # of new spaces
Calgary and area – 906
North Central Alberta – 318
Central Alberta – 287
Northeast Alberta – 116
East Central Alberta – 227
Northwest Alberta – 410
Edmonton and area – 652
Southeast Alberta – 282
Métis Settlements – 69
Southwest Alberta – 222
The creation of these new spaces is part of the Alberta government’s ongoing strategy to work with parents, the child care sector and other community partners to improve access to quality, affordable child care.
“Parents who are working or going to school need to access quality child care to help ensure their children get a good start in life,” said Tarchuk. “We still have lots of work ahead of us; however, I’m pleased to see the positive difference this funding is making, including in Métis Settlements, where families have not had access to licensed child care spaces.”
Recruiting and retaining child care staff is also an important component of making child care more available. In response to the staffing challenges faced by child care operators, the Alberta government increased staff wage top-ups to help employers increase the salaries of child care professionals. As well, 160 staff have rejoined Alberta’s child care workforce as a result of the province’s Staff Attraction Incentive Allowance.
More details on the spaces being created in each community are available at www.child.alberta.ca/childcare.
Backgrounder: Action taken to enhance child care
Media inquiries may be directed to:
Cathy Ducharme, Communications
Children and Youth Services