Métis Nation BC (MNBC) is announcing today the second-largest funding portfolio of the recently announced 2021/2022 operating budget, dedicating over $16.6 million to supporting and expanding early learning and child care programs and services.
The Métis Nation has a vision for Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) in which Métis children and families are provided with culturally relevant, self-empowering ELCC programming and services that focus on the development and maintenance of strong Métis families and communities throughout lifespans, beginning at birth.
This budget announcement encompasses $500,000 for the Miyoopimatishihk (Wellbeing) Program for families with children from birth to eight announced earlier this week and further funding towards other existing and expanded programs. Some of those programs that will see increased funding are the Métis Early Years Cultural & Language Program, Métis Family Connections, Métis Early Years Family Gatherings and early years programing in Chartered Communities. Each of these programs will receive $500,000 of the allotted funding.
Creating new child care spaces that are Métis-focused is a priority for the Ministry of Education. As such, $5.5 million will be invested in land, properties and buildings to create much-needed spaces for Métis children and families. These investments are in partnership with our Chartered communities and children and family agencies. A further $1.5 million will go towards Métis children and family non-profits and service providers to support Métis families. Another $1 million will go to developing Métis Early Childhood Education professionals to deliver Métis focused early childhood education.
Our Métis children and family agencies and our communities are our partners in caring for our Métis children. Together, we will support Métis families throughout the province by providing culturally relevant, self-empowering programming and services that focus on developing and maintaining strong Métis families and communities across the lifespan, beginning at birth.
The budget aims to invest in the Métis Nation’s future by renewing investments in programs and services to support young children and families.
“The provision of cultural resources has been so beneficial in helping not only my children, but me as well, to know our heritage,” said Métis Citizen and mother, Erin Laverdure. “Gifts of musical spoons, cultural stories written in both English and Michif, bison puppets, sashes, colouring pages and recipes have been amazing. Because of this program, my children are more connected to who they are as Métis people and they are proud to tell others that they are Métis.”
“This budget supports improving education, health and social outcomes for young Métis children that is Métis focused and includes early learning, Métis culture, parental involvement and social support,” said Debra Fisher, Minister of Education. “We are excited to have the capacity to partner with our Métis Chartered Communities and Métis children and family non-profits to improve the lives of Métis families throughout the province.”