Quite by surprise - licensed child care centres in NS received an email last week informing us that the new funding model has been completed and will be ready to implement for January 2018. The information that we've been waiting on since last Fall came in the form of an email at the end of day Friday. As a follow up, this week the Department will be holding consultation sessions across the Province to formally roll it out and field questions. I will be attending on Thursday evening.
After a few days to sift through all of the information, we are both relieved and troubled. Relieved to know that we will not loose our existing funding and that from our preliminary understanding, it will continue under a new name and with conditions, but more or less remain the same. A significant change - after March 2019 funding will be tied to a centres level of quality. There will be measures and accountability to provide high quality child care which potentially will raise the level of quality across the board to licensed child care centres.
We were happy and surprised to read that there will be a new grant available in April 2018 for inclusive child care. We are hopeful and excited for our centre for this development moving forward as we have never had access to any grant funding to provide inclusive child care for children with special needs.
Of concern - there is still a restriction imposed on centres ability to expand. Any centre that opened or expanded after June 2016 is NOT eligible to receive any of this funding. That means if we were to gain a small amount of space for a modest expansion of two classrooms to our existing location - we would not be eligible to receive additional funding for those 2 classrooms. This leaves a large question mark around expansion and centres ability to plan for the future and meet the demand for high quality child care in their communities.
Thank you for all of your feedback, support and kind words after our original post sharing our experience over the last 3 years. We do know that we are not alone in this and that many other centres have, and continue to have stressful experiences. We also know that since our original post on November 1, another child care centre (that we know of) has unfortunately closed. We will continue to keep you informed as we learn more.