Child's making clay figures. (Sharon McCutcheon, Pexels.com)
The province is offering a helping hand to parents who work on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
Essential workers with children under five years of age can fill out a form, to identify their need for urgent child care.
Forms can be accessed by calling 1-888-338-6622 and selecting Option 4, or by clicking here.
Spaces will be prioritized for children whose parents work in public health and health services, social services, law enforcement, first responders and emergency response sectors.
Additional spaces will then be given to families working in other roles, defined as essential service workers.
Child Care Resource Referral centres in 38 communities will act as community-based hubs.
The centres will reach out to essential-service workers in their area who filled in the form to connect them with available licensed child care spaces.
Applicants will be asked:
- which category of essential worker they are;
- their child’s age; and
- in which community they need child care.
While many centres are open Monday to Friday, others may offer care on the weekends and outside the hours of 7:30am to 6:00pm.
Child care centres, which are open, must follow guidelines on how to prevent the spread of and protect children and staff from COVID-19.
This includes proper handwashing, regular cleaning and disinfecting, and identifying sick children.
To help the child care sector through this pandemic, the Ministry of Children and Family Development is also offering temporary emergency funding.
Licensed childcare providers that are open and operating are eligible for emergency funding at seven times their average monthly child care operating base funding.
All children and staff who are ill with fever, have cold, influenza or infectious respiratory symptoms of any kind must stay home.
If they are unsure of their status, BCCOVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool and the BC Centre for Disease Control’s online assessment tool can help assess whether or not they can return to child care.