Province outlines plans for child care
Today, the Province of Prince Edward Island announced further details about the expansion of child care services as the province begins to ease public health measures.
The plan for child care services, in accordance with recommendations and guidelines provided by the Chief Public Health Office, will include a phased approach to gradually and safely reopen licensed and unlicensed early learning centres.
“As our province begins to ease public health restrictions and opens up more of our economy so Islanders can get back to work, we need to recognize that child care remains a difficult issue,” said Premier Dennis King. “We will continue to work with families and community partners to find new and alternative ways to ensure any Islander in need has access to affordable, high-quality child care opportunities.”
As the province prepares to enter Phase 2 of Renew PEI, Together on May 22, the provincial government released its plan for expanded child care, which includes:
- increasing the number of licensed child care centres operating from 22 to 155;
- providing child care at licensed centres in groups of 5 people, with no more than 20 people in a centre;
- allowing private home-based child care centres to re-open to their full capacity (up to 7 children); and,
- providing a new childcare allowance to support families using either licensed of private child care services.
Families returning to work will receive $75 per child, per week until June 26 to help with child care costs. Licensed centres will receive the payment directly. For parents using private child care services, they will need to complete an application form. The form will be available on the government’s website beginning May 22.
The Child Care Subsidy Program is also available for families based on their income and family situation. To check eligibility, Islanders can use the child care subsidy calculator.
“As we learn to live and adjust to COVID-19, we will continue to evaluate the way child care services are delivered in our province,” said Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Brad Trivers. “We know we need to balance the need of Islanders returning to work with keeping our children safe and we will continue to work with our educational partners and families to achieve this. Together, we can ensure that parents have the supports they need to work and raise their families and that children have the opportunity to thrive.”
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Premier
License Child Care Centres
Priority in licensed child care centres during Phase 2 will be given to parents who must leave home to work and who have no other child care options. Parents who had children in licensed centres before the pandemic will be given priority to return to that spot.
Licensed child care operators are now reaching out to families in their centres to identify their needs. Once that is determined, they will offer any remaining spaces to parents who have requested one.
While public health guidelines restrict infants and those who are immunocompromised from returning to licensed child care centres at this time, private child care services are still available. Children who are immunocompromised may return to a centre if they have written approval from a health care practitioner.
Children with special needs will continue to be supported by the early childhood education team on a case-by-case basis. In addition, child care centres are working directly with families to support the needs of each child.
Parents not returning to work during this phase will not lose their space in centres. In addition, essential workers now using licensed child care centres will continue to have a space in a licensed centre.
Private Home-Based Centres
More than 300 home-based centres across the province will be permitted to take up to 7 children each while practicing physical distancing based on their COVID-19 Operation Plan required by the Chief Public Health Office.