MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government has launched an online resource portal for families seeking information on early learning and child care services and programs.

“Your government is committed to improving access to quality early learning and child care,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “The portal will provide families with useful resources and help them with the child care enrolment process.”

Rogers spoke on behalf of Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny.

The Early Childhood Services Portal will allow parents to search for licensed early learning and child care services based on their choice of location and language. Parents seeking designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres can also apply for child care subsidies through the portal.

The portal will eventually include a registry that aims to be a one-stop shop for families to register their children for available child care spaces. It will allow families to determine whether spaces are available in a facility or if there is a wait list.

The registry is part of the government’s Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of early learning and child care.

“Like many parents of young children, we found it difficult to find child care for our two young kids,” said Amanda West. “This portal will be a great tool for new parents. It will make it easier for families who are looking for resources because there is so much information in one place.”

The government also announced the complete rollout schedule for eligible child care facilities to become designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres.

Most eligible facilities in Greater Edmundston and the city of Saint John have obtained that designation since the application period began in March.

These centres are intended to help parents access more affordable and high-quality child care services.

The rollout will begin in September with expansion in the current sites, as well as other areas of the Francophone nord-ouest school district, including Grand Falls, Saint-Léonard, Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick, and the Francophone sud school district including Quispamsis. It will also expand to the Anglophone South School District, including Sussex and St. Stephen.

The remainder of the rollout schedule is as follows:

December 2018

  • Francophone sud school district (Dieppe and Moncton)
  • Anglophone East School District (Dieppe and Moncton)

February 2019

  • Francophone nord-est school district (Restigouche, Chaleur and Acadian Peninsula regions)
  • Anglophone North School District (Restigouche, Chaleur, Miramichi and Rexton regions)
  • Francophone sud school district (Miramichi)

March 2019

  • Anglophone West School District (Fredericton, Oromocto and Woodstock regions)
  • Francophone Sud school district (Fredericton and Oromocto)

The designation process for New Brunswick Early Learning Homes will begin in February 2019.

Parents whose children attend designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres and New Brunswick Early Learning Homes are eligible for improved subsidies for child care expenses.

The goal is to designate more than 300 child care facilities as New Brunswick Early Learning Centres by 2020 to offer more affordable, accessible and high-quality early learning and child care services.

Today’s announcement is part of a $71-million federal-provincial early learning and child care framework which will support early learning initiatives.

“It is a priority for the Government of Canada that children have the best possible start in life to set them up for success,” said federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. “That is why I am pleased that we are working together with the Government of New Brunswick to raise quality standards in facilities, thereby improving the quality of early learning and child care offered to families with young children. The development of early learning and child care systems is one of the best investments our government is making to strengthen Canadian families, society and the economy.”

Petitpas Taylor spoke on behalf of federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

More details on the government’s plan to invest and transform the child care and early learning system are available in its Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan, Everyone at their best… from the start: Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan.