Early Years Policy and Programs

Last updated on May 3, 2024

MCFD's system of early years supports imageEarly years services are separate and distinct from other services offered by the ministry for young families (e.g. child care, child protection, mental health, or supports for children and youth with support needs), but help to broaden the range of supports available to children and families in B.C.

The system of early years services in B.C. is large and complex, with numerous government ministries, health authorities, school districts, Indigenous governments, municipalities, and hundreds of community organizations sharing the roles and responsibilities of providing supports to families.

Early years services are delivered entirely through contracted organizations. These service organizations are strong advocates for families and children. They aim to respond to families’ unique needs. Early years services can help connect families to the services they need, provide them with effective social supports and networks, and ultimately support the wellness of both a child and family.


The Ministry’s Early Years Service Framework

The Ministry of Children and Family Development recognizes that young children and families need services in their local community. Throughout the first six years of a child’s life, government-funded services are available across local communities to support family wellness. For example, providing opportunities for parents to connect with other parents, to help children socialize and build strong foundations as they enter the formal school system, or to help parents navigate challenging situations -from parenting skills to understanding their child’s development.

The Early Years Service Framework provides the policy direction for all of the ministry’s early years services. In providing clear policy direction, this framework outlines what early years services are, why they are needed and the goals, principles, service types and terminology that underpin these services.

This information is intended to benefit families, service providers and policy and decision makers.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions on Early Years Services (PDF).


Early Years Professional Development

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 earlyyears@bccampus.ca  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.


The Early Years Indigenous Cultural Safety Resource Guide

The purpose of the Early Years Indigenous Cultural Safety Resource Guide is to help Early Childhood Educators who work with Indigenous children, families, and communities find appropriate and meaningful resources that will increase their ability to provide culturally safe and respectful care.

This guide contains educational resources to develop Cultural Competency for Early Childhood Educators. The inclusion of these resources is not an endorsement; it is up to each individual learner to determine which resource works best for them. It is intended for Early Childhood Educators and other service providers who work with Indigenous children, families, and communities.

This guide is an initiative sponsored by the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Children and Family Development.

The Province of British Columbia recognizes that a distinctions-based approach is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in B.C. are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented. The Province recognizes First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit as the Indigenous peoples of Canada, consisting of distinct, rights-bearing communities with their own histories, including with the Crown. The work of forming renewed relationships based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership must reflect the unique interests, priorities and circumstances of each people.