Nova Scotia child care centres are getting the help they need to hire, and keep, qualified staff. Community Services Minister Judy Streatch made the announcement of almost $5 million in extra funding today, March 7, in Halifax. “The province is moving forward on its commitment to improving and expanding child care across Nova Scotia,” said Ms. Streatch. “This funding is available to all licensed child care centres to help enhance staff salaries and benefits which will, in turn, provide a foundation for recruitment and retention of staff.” The child care operating grant is a key part of the Early Learning and Child Care Plan and is available to licensed commercial and non-profit full-day child care centres. Centres will receive $8 per day, per occupied space, for infants, and $3 per day, per occupied space, for children 18 months old to school age. The grant will replace the salary enhancement, equipment, infrastructure, and infant care grants that had been issued to non-profit child care centres. The child care operating grant is about $54 million of the $130-million plan. “Wages for child care workers are a critical factor in the competitive recruitment and retention of my staff,” said Bronwien Richardson, director of Dutch Village Child Care. “This funding could also help develop a staff pension program or increase their vacations, improving the lives of these coveted and appreciated employees.” Licensed, full-day child care centres have until April 10 to submit their child care operating grant applications. More information and the application form can be found at: www.gov.ns.ca/coms/families/elcc.html . A 10-year, made-in-Nova Scotia, child care plan was announced in May. The Early Learning and Child Care Plan will add more day-care spaces, increase subsidized spaces, and provide support for the province’s child care sector.