Recognition of the need for increased child care capacity by the provincial and federal governments has resulted in exciting news for Humboldt and its region. A new daycare is on the way, says Melissa Sand, executive director of the Humboldt Public School Child Care Center. The organization currently operates two child care centers, one at Humboldt Public School and the other at St. Augustine School. He is now set to open a third center at a location to be determined.
“We just learned that we have been approved for 40 new child care spaces in Humboldt,” says Sand. “We are going to expand further and open a third location.
Currently, the existing centers have space for 56 children and 46 children in addition to places for children in the before and after school program. The recent joint federal-provincial initiative to expand child care services is at the heart of the approved construction, even though the Humboldt Public School Day Care had requested the facility before the funding announcement. The funding announcement was made on March 16.
Unlike the other centers, attached to schools, the new one will be an operation from scratch, says Sand.
“We are figuring out where in Humboldt that should be. We’re just looking at different buildings and terrains and what’s available to start that off. We can buy a building and renovate it, or we can do a new construction.
From the perspective of parents in the region, the announcement of the new center is welcome. Job opportunities are increasing in the area, and the network of communities with jobs in the area means that parents have to travel to and from work in many cases.
“We have a long waiting list, and there are a lot of people who need more licensed care, especially as new families move into Humboldt,” says Sand. “As the provincial government continues to lower fees for parents, it is also encouraging more parents to use licensed child care. »
Programs launched by the provincial government on February 1 have resulted in a 50% reduction in fees for licensed care, which has led to increased demand.
The provincial government’s recent promise to fund the recruitment and retention of qualified staff was also welcomed by Sand. She notes that the existing facilities are well staffed with qualified and quality educators. However, with the new center, the demand for staff will increase.
“We’ll have to see what that looks like when we open our third location, but hopefully there are more people enrolled in the (ECE education) program looking to work in this career.”
Sand says it’s an exciting endeavor that will hopefully go a long way toward meeting community demand.