The Child Development Centre of Fort St. John and District will open sometime in the Spring/Summer, according to the Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux.

The local centre is one of 14 opening in communities across the province.

“We will continue building on the success of these centres by further expanding the network – as budget allows – in order to reach more families throughout the province,” Cadieux writes.

The new centre will allow parents with children aged 0 – 6 to connect with a number of services, including parent and child drop-in playgroup programs, StrongStart B.C. programs, public health clinics, advice and referrals from early-years professionals, parent education workshops; licensed child care for families, child-care resources and referral information, and a mobile bus to provide outreach to families in rural communities, according to the ministry.

The Child Development Centre of Fort St. John and District will receive $52,000 from the province, as will the other 13 centres, to help get through the first fiscal year.

The ministry says the sites were chosen to be “located in a diverse mix of urban, rural and Aboriginal communities.”

The ministry also says studies show that positive early year experiences lead to better social, economic, and health outcomes for children.

This is all a part of the B.C. Early Years Strategy, aiming to improve “the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young children.”

Don’t forget about the province’s recently announced B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit – starting April 2015. You should expect a cheque of up to $660 per year, per child under the age of six.