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Program helping young parents finish school

Duncan's Lakey Stager and Devon Thomas are thanking the government's new Young Parent Program for their success in school while raising two young boys.

"We are very happy that both our sons are able to attend the Young Parent Program," the local parents said in a media release. "Our older son recently turned three years old, and if not for the new Young Parent Program, we would have had to find a new centre for him. Having our children close to the school makes it much easier for us to concentrate on school work."

The Duncan YPP is among the most recent of 37 similar programs funding by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in B.C.

"These programs offer childcare at or near secondary schools, providing young parents with the chance to finish school and access to important parenting resources," the release reads.

"The new YPPs at Chilliwack Community Services, the Nagle Street Early Learning Program in Duncan, and at the Hand in Hand Infant Toddler Centre in Penticton bring the total number of YPP child care spaces to almost 900."

The program is available to children from three to five years old.

"This has long been a dream for our YPP to offer childcare and parenting support to our families until the children are ready to attend kindergarten," said Nagle Street Early Learning Program co-ordinator Kathy Payne.

Parents taking advantage of these programs are eligible to receive an enhanced child-care subsidy rate of up to $1,000 per month, compared to a maximum subsidy rate of $750 for other parents.

To be eligible, you must have had a child in your teens, or turned 20 during the school year the child was born. These parents can receive enhanced subsidy rates until they're 24.

Ministry funding for the programs is estimated at more than $2.7 million annually with $540,000 in child-care operating funding and $2.2 million for child-care subsidies.

"It's not easy being a parent, especially if you're trying to finish a high school education," Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux said. "Government recognizes the positive impact these programs have on the lives of young parents and their children - and that's why we're supporting these programs in communities throughout the province."

For more information about child-care programs in B.C., visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/index.htm

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