Tuesday’s budget included a pair of major strategies that will shape how the government handles children’s issues for the next decade.
Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Charlene Johnson rolled out a 10-year strategy for child care in the province, and a new plan to reorganize the province’s foster care program.
“This is really completely revamping our foster care system in the province,” Johnson said.
The 640 foster care homes and 400 child welfare homes will be assessed, and classed in different “levels” and funding will be changed.
Johnson said the new system will be more focused on the children involved, and it will be less about the money. She called it, “results-based versus receipts-based.”
Similarly, Johnson said the government will spend millions more on child care.
In the next 10 years the government plans to more than double spending on child care to $56 million. Johnson said the government is hoping to increase child care spaces in the province by 70 per cent
Moreover, she said the government hopes to change the certification system to create a one-year program for people wanting to work in a child care centre.
Johnson also said child care will hopefully become more affordable.
The government will start subsidizing child care centres, if they agree to cap their fees and operate according to certain standards.
“It’s voluntary, so for the child care centres that are out there now that want to continue operating as they are, that’s fine,” she said. “(But) if you’re going to receive public funds, then you’re going to have to cap your fees.”