Yukon announces new money for daycare facilities

'This is really the first major increase ... child care centres and providers have seen, in 10 years,' said Social Services Minister Pauline Frost.

First increase to direct operating grant in a decade, says Minister Pauline Frost

'We want to ensure that parents can afford to put their children in child care centres, that we have the best quality of service as possible,' said Social Services Minister Pauline Frost. (CBC)

Yukon daycare and day home operators are getting a boost in funding, thanks to an agreement signed between the territorial and federal governments.

Social Services Minister Pauline Frost says the deal, worth about $7.2 million over three years, is "exciting."

"This is really the first major increase we've seen, or Yukoners have seen or child care centres and providers have seen, in 10 years," Frost said.

"We want to ensure that parents can afford to put their children in child care centres, that we have the best quality of service as possible."

Facilities will see their funding increase by 14.5 per cent, with rural child care programs getting an additional 20 per cent boost to their direct operating grant. The increases will be retroactive to last April.

Frost said the new money will also be put toward professional development for early childhood educators, and implementing a "new, culturally and developmentally appropriate curriculum."

"The objective also is really to look at supporting our children with special needs, including children with specific behavioural challenges in daycares, and we don't do that very well," Frost said.

Watson Lake's daycare facility closed last fall because of a lack of staff. (Yukon Party)

Patti McLeod, MLA for Watson Lake welcomes the funding announcement, but wants more details about how it might help her community. Watson Lake's only daycare facility closed last year because it couldn't find enough staff.

"I don't know if it's going to help with growth or attracting qualified workers," McLeod said.

"It doesn't address the long term ... solution to being able to attract qualified child care workers, and pay them appropriately."

With files from Mike Rudyk

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