Government will make child care more affordable for families while improving wages for early childhood educators.
“We know that investing in early childhood education now will provide a direct, immediate benefit for Nova Scotia children, which is why we committed $6.6 million to begin implementing this plan,” said Karen Casey, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.
A report titled, Affordable, Quality Child Care: A Great Place to Grow!, released today, June 1, outlines changes that will take place over the next five years to address the concerns identified in the review of regulated child care.
Actions in the first phase of the plan include making child care more affordable for families by investing in higher subsidy rates and investing to address historically low wages for early childhood educators who were earning a median hourly wage of $12.84.
Beginning in October, centres receiving provincial grant funding must pay early childhood educators based on a wage floor ranging from $15 to $19 depending on the level of training.
Beginning July 1, families eligible for a subsidy will pay less. Families with an income of $25,000 or less will be eligible for the maximum subsidy and families with an income of more than $25,000 up to $70,000 will be eligible for a partial subsidy. The amount families will pay will depend on the amount of subsidy the family receives and the daily parent fees their child care centre charges. Caps will be placed on the amount a centre can raise parent fees so the gap between subsidy and cost of care narrows.
The report contains 27 actions to be implemented over five years in the areas of affordability, structure and governance, quality, accessibility and development of the workforce. The department will work with the sector to develop a new funding model over the next 18 months that reflects the principles and actions outlined in the report. A provincial early learning curriculum will also be developed to support healthy development and successful transitions into school.
“We can no longer make patchwork improvements to the child care sector,” said Ms. Casey. “We need to make effective, sustainable improvements that best support the development of our children. I look forward to working with the early learning and child care sector to make positive changes to the regulated child care system.”
More than 7,000 Nova Scotians responded to child care review consultations through the online survey, in addition to focus groups, one-on-one interviews and written submissions.
The full report can be found at novascotia.ca/education .