Child care centres across the province are converting 570 spaces to support families with infants, toddlers and after school care, thanks to federal-provincial funding. Government announced today, April 19, it will help 51 centres and increased its support from $2 million to $2.7 million to meet the changing needs of communities. A new infant incentive, announced in March, will ensure the 144 new spaces for infants remain affordable. Centres will also convert 346 spaces for toddlers and 80 spaces for pre-primary wraparound care. “Families want child care options that are affordable, accessible and inclusive, and government is responding to that need in our communities,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “We have increased our original investment to meet this demand and create more spaces for children and infants.” Child care centres are in a better financial position to support infant care as a result of the investment. “The first years of life are essential to the sound development, future well-being and learning progression of children,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “I am therefore very happy that investments from the early learning and child care bilateral agreement signed in January between the Government of Canada and Nova Scotia allow more kids to benefit from learning and child care services in a stimulating environment.” Allegro Child Care Centre in Halifax is one of the centres that will focus its grant on converting spaces for infants and toddlers. “After 20 years in business, I am grateful for this opportunity to meet the changing demands of our growing community,” said Marcia Nickerson, owner and operator of Allegro Child Care Centre. “We will be starting renovations next month while still maintaining our daily quality program. “We are so thankful to our current families for their support at this time, and look forward to contacting many new parents on our waitlist to let them know we have new spaces coming available.” Another centre in Cape Breton will also prioritize infant care. Kim MacPhee is the director of child care at the YMCA of Cape Breton. As a grant recipient, her centre will, for the first time, be in a position to offer infant care to families in Sydney. “The YMCA has long been committed to accessible, affordable and high-quality child care and this new space conversion grant will help us meet the child care needs of families with infants,” said Ms. MacPhee. “Our community is changing and we need to change along with it to ensure that family needs are being met. This funding will support the YMCA of Cape Breton in providing the youngest people in our community with a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate child care environment.” In January, the province signed a three-year, $35 million early learning and child care funding agreement with the Government of Canada. A portion of that funding has been designated to support this and other initiatives to grow the regulated child care sector for children, families and operators. Since signing the agreement, the province has changed Nova Scotia’s Child Care Subsidy Program to make regulated child care more accessible and affordable for more families and will invest an additional $6.9 million in 2018-19, to create up to 1,000 new regulated child care spaces for toddlers and infants in communities that need them most.