MCFD: Re-Organization of B.C. Early Years Services
Early years services in British Columbia are delivered entirely through contracted organizations, who aim to respond to families’ unique needs and act as strong advocates for families and children. Early years services work to help connect families to the services they need, provide them with effective social supports and networks, in order to support the wellness of both children and families.
The Early Years Service Framework provides the policy direction for all of the ministry’s early years services.
Over the past 15 years, the BC government has investigated ways to build local capacity, and give recognition to early years’ tables across the province who have participated throughout this process as community champions to create strong networks to share information, leverage relationships, development and implement programs, and raise awareness of the importance of the early years.
The Ministry has extracted two key learnings from this process: the need to prioritize spending on the programs and services that British Columbia families need and want, and a conclusion that it is time to revisit how they work with partners to collaboratively plan for these services.
The Ministry has announced that it is shifting its investment, currently allocated to community planning in Success by 6 and Children’s First initiatives, into more direct programming in communities. The function of early years’ planning will be assumed by new positions in regional MCFD offices. This new planning will continue to rely on the collaboration of systems leaders at a local level.
The Ministry has 13 Service Delivery Areas within the province, and a Request for Proposals (RFP) for each of those service areas has been issued on the BC Bid website.
The Early Years Services Framework outlines the direct service categories that will guide the re-investment of funding.
Direct services for families with young children include those that support and promote community belonging to address social isolation, supports to families experiencing vulnerabilities, supports to access Indigenous culture and language, support to families to navigate the system of supports and make the direct connections they need and supports children to engage in early years programs.
Responses to specific questions received during the Request for Proposals (RFP) procurement process will be posted on the BC Bid site. Proponents to any of the RFPs should regularly review the BCBid site for updates.
The Ministry announcement about the proposed changes also includes information about two Early Childhood Development online projects designed to facilitate access to Professional Development research materials and training opportunities:
The Early Years Professional Development Portal is a pilot project sponsored by the Early Years Policy and Programs in collaboration with BC campus. The portal is an online environment for the promotion of training opportunities across the early years sector in BC.
Workshops, courses, conferences, and seminars may be viewed at earlyyearsbc.ca/ by searching for an event by keyword on a phone, tablet, or computer.
Approved organizations can post events online or contact email@example.com for more information or to get assistance with posting a large number of training events.
The Science of Early Child Development (SECD) resources narrow the gap between research and practice. These multimedia tools are used for teaching and learning around the world. Users at different levels get engaged by the readings, games, questions, links to reports and websites, and hundreds of videos of experts, children, programs.
Through the BC Site Access, SECD – North American Edition, and SECD - Child Development Primer (in English and French) are available to anyone situated in British Columbia.
Use these resources for:
Professional development, by delving into a variety of early years topics
Staff training, by selecting topics for staff meetings to encourage critical thinking and discussion
Parent education, by showing the video examples to parents/clients
Classes and workshops, by projecting and discussing the information in face-to-face sessions
Online teaching, by having students access the resources as their “textbook”