On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan government announced the creation of an online portal called Parent Central to help parents or caregivers find licensed child care.
The online portal is intended to help caregivers find information, programming and services for children up to six years of age.
“Our government remains committed to supporting families with necessary access to quality child care in their communities,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said in a release.
“This new website will help families find these services nearest to where they work or live.”
The provincial government says Parent Central was developed in a partnership between the Ministry of Education and 211 Saskatchewan, which is an initiative of United Way.
“211 Saskatchewan plays an important role in helping everyone, especially our most vulnerable, learn about available community services and how to access them,” United Way Regina CEO Robyn Edwards-Bentz said in the release.
“COVID-19 has demonstrated that accessing quality child care, as well as parenting information and services, is imperative for all.”
She goes on to say United Way is proud to partner with the Ministry of Education’s Early Years Branch to launch the portal and that the new services are accessible through phone, the website, text or chat.
The portal also allows parents to search for early learning and child-care services by location and gives specific information about the availability of licensed child care across the province.
The United Way says it will be co-ordinating with the centres to update the site on a regular basis with information on operation and availability.
The province says funding for the online portal was provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
As part of the 2021-22 budget, the government has set aside $75.5 million for child care, an increase of $2.0 million in provincial funding.
The province says the additional funding will increase grants for both new and existing home child care providers.
The Saskatchewan government says it is also working to grow the number of available child-care spaces in the province.
This year’s budget allows for funding to create 176 new licensed home-based spaces and 51 new licensed centre spaces as part of the province’s four-year commitment to create 750 new licensed child-care spaces.
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