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To: Minister Katrina Chen - Minister of State for Child Care
Group Funding Rates Needed for Multi-Age Child Care Centres
Dear Minister Chen, it is important that you give all child care centres licensed as "Multi-Age" the group funding rates through the Child Care Operating Funding program (CCOF). You must change the unfair policy which states that Multi-Age child care centres located in the licensee's residence are only eligible for family funding rates.
Why is this important?
Multi-age child care centres (located in the licensee's residence) are currently eligible for only family funding rates, rather than the group funding rates that they really deserve. The difference between group and family funding rates works out to hundreds of dollars per month that Group centres (located in the licensee's residence) receive and Multi-Age centres (located in the licensee's residence) do not.
The following outlines the ways in which licensed Multi-Age programs are the same as Group (30 month to school age) programs licensed for up to 8 children, and why they should receive the same amount of funding:
1. Both can be operated in a licensee’s residence.
2.There must always be a certified Early Childhood Educator (ECE) caring for the children in both Multi-Age and Group care programs. This means that staff in both Multi-Age and Group programs are required to have the same qualifications. Unlike in Family care programs where the care providers do not need to have their ECE certification.
3. Licensees of Multi-Age and Group programs are eligible to hire ECEs to care for the children in their programs. Unlike in licensed Family and In Home Multi-Age programs, where the licensee themselves must provide care to the children in the program. Hiring staff creates greater overhead costs which is partially why Group centres receive more funding than Family centres. Since Multi-Age centre licensees are eligible to hire staff, they should be considered the same as Group centres and receive the group funding rate as well.
4. In both Multi-Age and Group centres the staff to child ratio is 1:8. Unlike in Family care programs where the ratio is 1:7
Multi-Age centres can offer spaces for children from 0 - 12 years of age, while Group (30 month to school age) centres can only accommodate children 2.5 - 6 years of age. This means that Multi-Age centres can accommodate infants and toddlers, while Group (30 months to school age) centres can not.
It is important to note that there is a great lack of infant and toddler child care spaces in the province on British Columbia. Changing the policy to give all Multi-Age centres group funding rates is a simple way to encourage current and future licensees to maintain and create Multi-Age centres. Thus maintaining and creating more infant and toddler child care spaces in the province.
Caregivers in Multi-Age programs are required to have their ECE certification. They should be able to make fair wages for the important work that they do and the credentials they have obtained throughout their time in college and other professional development programs. Giving Multi-Age centres the higher group funding rate will help Multi-Age centres maintain fair wages for their qualified staff.
Parents of children attending Multi-Age care programs should be eligible for the same child care fee reduction rates as parents of children attending almost identical Group (30 months to school age) programs. The group funding rate for parents is 1.5 to 2 times higher than the family funding rate.
Most centres licensed as "Multi-Age" do receive the group funding rates from CCOF. However, the policy currently states that if a Multi-Age centre is operated out of the licensee's residence then they are only eligible for family funding rates. Meanwhile, a Group (30 month to school age) program can be operated out of the licensee's residence and still receive the higher group funding rates.
Minister Chen is making important changes in child care right now. Let's put this one small policy change on her priority list.
Minister Chen must change the unfair policy which states that Multi-Age child care centres located in the licensee's residence are only eligible for family funding rates. It is only fair that all Multi-Age child care centres receive group funding rates!