File photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Cariboo daycare chosen as one of B.C.’s $10-a-day pilot sites

Quesnel provider will offer seven low-cost daycare spaces as part of government prototype project

Quesnel’s Ruby’s Place Family Daycare is one of just 53 sites chosen by B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development to offer low-cost childcare to B.C. parents, as part of a new project being rolled out Dec. 1.

The daycare, run by Ruby Derkson, was highlighted as one of the province’s prototype sites in a press release, issued today (Nov. 9). It’s the only universal childcare prototype site in the Cariboo region.

It will offer seven universal childcare spaces, with parents paying just $10 a day. The prototype sites will model what high-quality, affordable, universal child care may look like for B.C. families.

“Families at Ruby’s Place Family Daycare are now paying no more than $200 a month per child as part of the B.C. government universal child care prototype project,” said the news release.

Ruby Derksen, who runs the centre, said she’s very happy to be part of the project.

“We are so happy and excited, and the parents are so excited, this is going to be really wonderful for them,” she commented. Derksen has been running a daycare for 16 years.

READ MORE: 53 B.C. daycares move to $10-a-day pilot

A Ministry spokesperson told Black Press the prototype project will run from Dec. 2018 to the end of March 2020, when feedback will be requested and evaluated.

“These sites are providing future direction of how this model could be expanded. We will be using them to get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t, for both providers and families,” the spokesperson explained.

He indicated the information gleaned from the project would inform whether the project will move forward on a larger scale in the future.

Ruby’s Place is the only daycare provider in the Cariboo to be part of the prototype project. The Ministry spokesperson said they have a range of sites on board across the province. In all, parents of around 2,500 children throughout B.C. will benefit from the prototype project.

Ruby’s Place incorporates language and music arts into its regular programming, including Indigenous cultural activities.

“The children at Ruby’s Place benefit from learning about Indigenous culture at a young age,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Ruby’s Place teams up with the school district’s Indigenous staff to give children unique cultural experiences, like learning about traditional plants and animals, and holistic and balanced lifestyles.”

This project is funded through a $60-million investment as part of the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada. It complements the Province’s three-year $1 billion investment through Childcare BC to move toward its long-term vision of affordable, accessible and quality child care for any family that needs it.

“We have committed to bring affordable, accessible and quality child care to B.C. parents,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “We’re excited to be working alongside providers on these first steps toward a universal child care system.”

According to today’s press release, parents who are not accessing these low-cost spaces may still be eligible for support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which provides up to $1,250 per child a month for families with an annual income of $111,000 or less. Families using licensed child care may also see savings through the Child Care Fee Reduction, which has so far helped to reduce the cost of almost 52,000 child care spaces around the province.

READ MORE: B.C. starting universal daycare pilot program



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