First licensed daycare on reserve in Alberta
South Peace News
Kapawe’no First Nation made history Sept. 15 when the band opened the first licensed day care on a reserve in Alberta.
Kapawe’no Daycare Centre opened after years of planning and hardship.
“Our most precious resource is our children,” said Elder Harry Laboucan during the opening prayer. “To be able to support them in a setting like this is very important. Let’s celebrate a worthwhile project.”
His words were echoed by other guest speakers, including Chief Frank Halcrow.
“It took us a long time to get here but we’re here today,” he said.
Halcrow paid special tribute to councillors Sydney Halcrow and Peter Chalifoux, and staff, for seeing the project to completion. Later, Effie Anderson, Kapawe’no First Nation Daycare Centre director Carol Hanlon, former MLA Pearl Calahasen and current MLA Danielle Larivee were also recognized.
“Now that we’re coming to the end of the trail, we’re very grateful,” said Halcrow.
“We came this far. Thank the good Lord it became a reality,”
The day care opened in September 2014, thanks to funding from the First Nation Development Fund. A day care was needed after it was determined that childcare was the main barrier to employment.
However, an unlicensed daycare is not eligible for parent subsidies. Kapawe’no management and staff set up a meeting with the provincial government regulators and the rest is history, although it took a long time. On July 10, 2017, the daycare received its license.
“We’re here today as partners with the Province of Alberta,” said Halcrow.
Larivee was pleased with Kapawe’no’s accomplishment.
“This is the kind of environment any parent would want for their children,” she said. “I was really thankful we could partner together.”
MLA Larivee applauded her government’s goal in providing more affordable childcare across the province.
“They [children] deserve the support of the province.
“This plan is a model for what can be accomplished,” she added.
“You are setting a standard for childcare in First Nations across Alberta.”
Calahasen also thanked the current government for completing the job she was first involved in.
Licensing of the child care program in Kapawe’no means parents can apply for the provincial child care subsidy and the child care program can apply for accreditation funding. It lowers the cost to parents significantly.
“This is amazing news for families in Kapawe’no and an exciting step forward in our government’s work to make child care more affordable and accessible across Alberta,” says Larivee.
Nearby Northern Lakes College students can now apply for provincial child care subsidies to help with child care costs while furthering their education.
The daycare has 31 spaces for children.