Campbell River city council has endorsed a report that it says “support the community in future child care creation endeavours.”
According to the recently-released report, entitled Planning for Child Care Space Needs, there’s a high demand in the city for infant and toddler care and for before and after-school care.
The report provides a comprehensive inventory of all types of child care spaces in the community and highlights a need to create at least 40 infant and toddler spaces, 50 group care spaces for children aged 30 months to five years old and up to 300 spaces for before and after-school care.
“These are significant numbers and will make a world of difference to families needing this type of child care,” says Joyce McMann, Family Place coordinator and board chair of the Campbell River Child Care Society. “To create these spaces will take extensive collaboration, funding and staffing.”
McMann came before council last January, asking for its support in acquiring a grant to do the child care needs study and issue the report, saying, in part, “child care has become as important to the healthy functioning of a vital, thriving community as the system of public education, and without the city taking a stand on trying to get a handle on these challenges and moving forward, we are looking at a community at risk of stagnating.”
Local organizations can use the report data to apply for child care space creation funding, and council has sent a letter in support of a potential application by School District 72.
“We are appreciative of the efforts of our community partners and the support that this report provides as the district considers the possibility of pursuing the addition of childcare spaces to some SD72 schools,” says Dr. Jeremy Morrow, Schools District 72 superintendent. “This report will be a valuable consideration for the Board of Education as they determine a possible application for the district.”
Funded through a provincial program, the report project consulted with families and child care providers to explore child care needs. Project partners included Campbell River Family Network, PacificCare Child Care Resource and Referral, Campbell River Family Services Society, School District 72 and the City of Campbell River.
“Quality, affordable accessible child care is key for early childhood development and helps reduce poverty and improve overall community quality of life,” says Mayor Andy Adams “We want to continue to attract young families to our area, and recognize that accessible child care is a big factor when people decide where to live. Working with our community partners to access funding for new spaces is the next step in this important process.”
In 2018, the Province of British Columbia announced child care investments totalling $1 billion over three years. As part of this investment, $237 million was committed to create 22,000 new licensed child care spaces. Campbell River has already seen more than 170 spaces open since that project launched.
The report outline ways government can support child care creation. It can also help business planning for new spaces and provides information about funding grants and early childhood education programs.
You can view the entire report at campbellriver.ca/childcare