FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Day Care Assistance Program, educator wages, training, co-ordination, autism intervention, and the support worker program will be improved for New Brunswickers as a result of an additional investment of more than $6 million in early childhood development.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr made the announcement today.

"The provincial government has identified early learning and child-care as a pillar of society," Carr said. "That is why we are focused on helping each child in New Brunswick reach his or her fullest potential through an enhanced system of early child development and education. An investment of $1 today provides a positive return of $7 tomorrow."

Starting Oct. 1, families with an annual income less than $27,000 will be eligible for the maximum full daycare subsidy, up from $25,000; and the eligibility ceiling for the subsidy will rise to those with an annual family income of $50,000, up from $45,000. This increase will help more than 6,000 children and their families.

In addition, the wage top-up program will be increased to improve salaries of almost 1,700 early childhood educators with recognized training. Retroactive to April, the early childhood educator wage top-up will increase by 25 cents per hour, for a total of $4.75 per hour.

The improvements are part of the government's three-year, $38-million action plan entitled Putting Children First.

This year, the province is investing $3.38 million in the creation of new daycare spaces.

"Our children clearly represent the future of our province," Carr said. "In our work to rebuild New Brunswick, we are laying a foundation for them to have a bright future in a stronger province."