New benefit will help with daycare costs

·2 min read

Parents accessing child-care services are now eligible to receive a one-time $561 per child under the new working parents benefit, unveiled by Alberta Children’s Services last week.

The benefit is meant to help parents cover the costs of childcare, including licenced and unlicenced daycares, day homes and pre-schools, used between April and December 2020.

“I think there will be quite a few (local families) who will benefit from this program,” said Alysha Martin, Beaverlodge Daycare executive director.

Martin said Beaverlodge Daycare currently has 55 to 60 children enrolled but is uncertain as to how many families will benefit from the program, because it depends on their income.

The $561 may be a small help, but better than nothing, she said.

Families with annual household incomes of $100,000 or less and have receipts for three months of childcare between last April 1 and Dec. 31 will be eligible, according to the Alberta government.

If local families have thrown out their receipts, they may still be able to benefit. “They can always get a receipt from us upon request,” Martin said.

Families can apply for the benefit with a MyAlberta Digital ID at alberta.ca/Working- ParentsBenefit now, with applications closing March 31, according to Alberta Children’s Services.

Families of up to 192,000 children across the province may be able to benefit from the program, according to the Alberta government.

According to Alberta Children’s Services, the benefit has a $108 million budget and is an expansion on the critical worker benefit, which provides $1,200 payments to front-line and essential workers.

As of Feb. 12, 2,739 daycare programs across the province remain open while 102 are closed.

Childcare operators across the province have also received more than $100 million in relief to go toward meeting health, cleaning and safety guidelines, according to the Alberta government.

Martin said Beaverlodge Daycare has received some financial support via grants during the pandemic.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News