B.C. creates referral service for essential workers struggling to find child care - InfoNews

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B.C. creates referral service for essential workers struggling to find child care

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 31, 2020 - 2:30 PM

A central referral system was launched today for essential services workers in B.C. who need to find daycare spaces for children under the age of five.

Workers can fill out a form identifying their need for daycare and it will be forwarded to one of the Child Care Referral Centre in 38 communities in the province so they can be matched with available child care spaces, according to a Ministry of Children and Family Development media release issued today, March 31.

“Child care spaces will be prioritized for children whose parents work in public health and health services, social services, law enforcement, first responders and emergency response sectors," states the release. “Additional spaces will then be given to families working in other crucial roles, defined as essential service workers.”

Parents can call 1-888-338-6622 and select Option 4, or go online here.

Hours of operation for spaces will vary by facility but the government will monitor whether the needs of essential service workers for care outside of regular hours are being met.

Child care operators will have to follow provincial guidelines on cleanliness and social distancing, the ministry says.

Licensed providers that are open and operating are eligible to receive emergency funding at a rate of seven times their average monthly funding levels while still being eligible for other programs like the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative and the Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancement.

Families may be eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit.

The province is also working with school districts to find ways to provide care for children aged six to 12 if their parents work in essential services, although it recommends that children be cared for at home.

More information about Child Care Options for Essential Services Workers is available here.

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