March 12, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A new Early Learning and Childcare Act, introduced in the legislative assembly today, will consolidate all matters relating to early learning and childcare.
Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock introduced the bill, which will expand on the Family Services Act for licensing, inspection and enforcement to include the authority for childcare subsidies (found under the Family Income Security Act) and the introduction of new provisions related to funding and grants.
New to the act will be requirements of early learning and childcare facilities related to:
Be Ready for Success: A 10 year early childhood strategy for New Brunswick recognizes that early learning opportunities are as important to a child's development as learning from kindergarten to Grade 12. This is why the action plan includes more affordable spaces in early learning facilities with a strong curriculum and provides for educators who are trained and treated as professionals.
"This legislation is also an important element in Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan," said Lamrock. "We know that a high-quality early learning and childcare sector fosters the early development of our younger children so they will become healthy, self-sufficient and productive adults."
Specifically, the act and the accompanying revised regulation will:
"Modernizing the act will clarify and strengthen enforcement provisions related to licensing and remove confusion for parents and the public about what constitutes an early learning and childcare facility or service," said Lamrock. "The act will clarify the situations where it does and does not apply."
The clarification and strengthening of enforcement related to licensing is significant because the total number of available childcare spaces in the province has increased by 36 per cent since October 2006.
The Early Learning and Childcare Act fulfils commitments made by the provincial government under the economic and social inclusion plan, the early childhood strategy and this year's speech from the throne.
MEDIA CONTACT: Nichole Bowman, communications, Department of Social Development, 506-457-7857.