New childcare spaces are being created in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

New childcare spaces are being created in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

New child care spaces created in Maple Ridge

Blessed Generations Academy will have new location this fall

There will be more child care spaces in Maple Ridge, as the provincial government announced the creation of more than 300 new spaces in the region.

The non-profit Blessed Generations Academy will receive funding for 49 spaces. This will break down to 24 infant-toddler, and 25 for those aged 30 months to kindergarten. This will be a new location for Blessed Generations, scheduled to open in the fall of this year. The faith-based organization has existing locations in New Westminster and Coquitlam.

The province is supporting six child care providers to create 328 new licensed child care spaces in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Maple Ridge, it announced Wednesday.

According to a government press release, the province has invested $2.7 billion in ChildCareBC since 2018, including funding more than 26,000 new licensed child care spaces through the New Spaces Fund and other space-creation programs.

“Our government is making unprecedented investments in childcare for families across British Columbia, and that includes right here in Maple Ridge,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “These 49 spaces will mean more parents can explore career or learning opportunities knowing their children are cared for and safe.”

“I’m so happy to see these new spaces being created at Blessed Generations Academy,” said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. “It’s great to see this project coming to fruition as a part of the BC New Democrat’s commitment to accessible and affordable childcare.”

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New spaces require new early childhood educators (ECEs). A recruitment and retention strategy was included as part of the 10-year ChildCareBC plan, launched in 2018. Progress includes providing more than 10,000 bursaries to support nearly 6,000 ECE students. Government has also created 1,150 new ECE student spaces at post-secondary schools, which more than doubles the number of seats since 2018. It has also raised ECE compensation by $4 per hour.

More than 30,000 children receive support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit every month. Parents making less than $45,000 can receive 100 per cent funding, and those making as much as $111,000 can receive partial funding.

READ ALSO: With daycare deals done, Liberals look to craft bill to enshrine child-care system

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