New BC Early Years Centres opening for families

Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre in 100 Mile House is one of them

Parents and families in several South Cariboo communities will soon be able to connect to early learning, health and family services in one convenient location.

The Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre (CFEC) in 100 Mile House is one of 12 community organizations throughout the province that have been selected to host new BC Early Years Centres that will help support families with children up to the age of six.

Each centre will offer a variety of programs, services and supports tailored to the needs of their community.

These may include:

Parent drop-in programs, such as Parent-Child Mother Goose;

StrongStart BC programs;

Public-health clinics;

Advice and referrals from early-years professionals;

Parent education workshops;

Licensed child care for families;

Child-care resources and referral information; and

A mobile bus to provide outreach to families in rural communities.

as was the case with the other sites, the CFEC was chosen by a cross-ministry selection panel that included representatives from the ministries of Children and Family Development, Education and Health, and are located in a diverse mix of urban, rural and Aboriginal communities.

Each centre will receive $52,000 from the Provincial Office for the Early Years for this fiscal year as part of a $5.5-million investment over three years.

This is great news for the CFEC, as it already has most of the above-mentioned programs in place, so the extra funding will allow the management and staff to not only upgrade their programs, but also provide more services for families with children in the zero to six age group.

The mobile bus option will be a dream come true for the CFEC personnel because reaching out to rural areas has always been on the radar.

With some families coming in to the centre from the rural areas over the years, the CFEC staff has realized there are a lot of people who don’t have the option of coming to 100 Mile House to take advantage of programs for their children and their families.

Having the option to travel to the outer reaches of the South Cariboo will allow staff to provide services, information and other support.

This will provide an opportunity to meet with families with young children and give them some great programs and information, as well as referrals to help with early years development.

This is the first step, as part of the B.C. Early Years Strategy, to implement a network of Early Years Centres throughout the province that will provide families with one-stop, convenient access to a range of services and supports, information and referrals.

The Early Years Strategy is an eight-year government commitment to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young


“We know that what we do from birth up to school-age is absolutely critical

to a child’s development,” says Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux.

“This is another step toward making life easier for families and setting children up for lifelong success.”


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The provincial government committed $76 million to support the first three years of the Early Years Strategy, including $32 million to help create up to 2,000 new licensed child-care spaces.

The foundation of the strategy is a new Provincial Office for the Early Years that will ensure services across government, and across B.C., are co-ordinated and effective.

To help with the costs of raising a young child, government is introducing the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit starting in 2015. The benefit will provide $146 million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six (up to $660 a year per child).

The Ministry of Children and Family Development also provides child-care subsidies to help low-income families afford child care – helping approximately 45,000 children each year.

The Early Years Strategy builds on the $1 billion per year government spends on early learning and childhood development initiatives, services and supports, including: Success by 6; Children First and Aboriginal early childhood development programs; full-day kindergarten; programs that support healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy; early childhood development care and learning program investments, including public health nursing, Ready, Set, Learn programs and StrongStartBC early learning programs.