PRINCE GEORGE - The provincial government has announced a $30 million expansion of the Aboriginal Head Start program across BC. BC Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy made the announcement Thursday morning in Prince George.
The program is meant to support early learning opportunities for Indigenous children under six, in a culturally appropriate manner. The funding will support more than 130 Aboriginal Head Start programs across BC.
“Our government is committed to the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and reducing the number of Indigenous children in care," said Conroy. "This investment in Aboriginal Head Start assists us in this important goal by recognizing the right of Indigenous families and communities to care for their children, guided by their culture.”
The $30 million through 2020 will be directed to a partnership with the First Nations Health Authority and the Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC. The investment will expand Head Start programs in the province, adding more than 350 new spaces. The Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC will use $19.5 million to create new licensed child care spaces that will be free for families. The First Nations Health Authority use the remaining $10.5 million to enhance its existing programs while creating new early learning seats in First Nations communities.
“I’m happy to see that funding from the Canada-British Columbia early learning and child care bilateral agreement will be used to expand great programs across British Columbia, like the Aboriginal Head Start programs, that support the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical growth of Indigenous children in a culturally appropriate manner,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
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