Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy (BC Government/Flickr)

Early learning programs for Indigenous kids get $30M boost

B.C. government to help expand Aboriginal Head Start Association programs with three-year funding

The B.C. government is boosting social services for Indigenous children by expanding programs offered by the non-profit Aboriginal Head Start Association.

“Having no-fee childcare will provide great opportunities for hundreds of families who have been frustrated by lack of money to make changes for themselves,” said association president Leila Aubichon on Thursday. “Parents can further their education and get jobs, confident that their children are getting excellent care.”

The money will help up to 320 families, the association believes, including children in its 12 existing schools, including in Prince Rupert, Comox Valley and Mission, who have been on long wait lists.

The association has run programs across Canada since 1995, with the mandate to provide early learning and care experiences for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and their families living in urban settings.

A third of the $30 million is earmarked for the First Nations Health Authority’s existing programs as well as to create new early-learning spaces in First Nations communities.

Another portion, about $6.5 million per year for the next three years, will set up Head Start preschools in underserved communities, as well as expand programs that already exist in 12 cities, Aboriginal Head Start Association said Thursday.

The cash falls under the $153-million, three-year Early Learning and Child Care partnership between B.C. and federal government.


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