The new spaces were funded through the Province’s Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund. (Danielle Elder/Special to The News)

The new spaces were funded through the Province’s Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund. (Danielle Elder/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge could be getting 110 childcare spaces by December 2021

Work underway to get staff on-board and trained before opening spaces for the public

Maple Ridge families might soon find more openings for childcare, with the 110 spaces announced for Under the Tree Family Education and Support Childcare Centre Inc.

The new spaces were funded through the Province’s Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund, which provided approximately $11 million to non-profit groups, schools and other public-sector organizations to quickly create new child care spaces.

Jenny Early of the childcare centre is excited about the new spaces and said the funding meant a lot for the centre that opened its daycare facilities during the pandemic.

“We did start in the middle of COVID but it has been good and we are really grateful for the federal funding,” said Early. “It is so important for us and the families will be getting both support, and daycare. We are really excited to welcome families once we are ready.”

At the moment the center has 67 spots but all aren’t filled up yet, not because there isn’t a demand, but because the centre has decided to frontload with staff, and appropriate and thorough staff training before bringing in more children and families.

“To us what it means is to serve the community and families of Maple Ridge to a greater extent, with more spaces for more children. We provide both, family support and childcare on site and addition of these spaces means we get to expand on all our unique services, and we want to do it right and not have more kids than the staff. So, right now we are training staff and hiring,” said Early.

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Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission told The News what it means to have all these new spaces starting next year.

“Going into the New Year, up to 110 more families will have safe and reliable childcare here in Maple Ridge. As we work towards a strong economic recovery, this will make a big different for parents in our growing community who will be able to go back to work, school, or pursue other goals because they know their kids are being cared for and nurtured,” he said.

Since 2018, more than 26,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded for families in B.C. The Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund supported the creation of 912 new licensed child care spaces in 20 communities throughout B.C.

“Our government is committed to supporting lifelong learning and healthy families through child care programs and in schools throughout B.C.,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “The Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund gives parents more child care options within their communities, and builds on our ongoing work to ensure new child care spaces are available, accessible and affordable for all B.C. families.”

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