EDITORIAL: Light at the end of the Squamish child care tunnel
The Chief staff / Squamish Chief
APRIL 10, 2019
A Squamish new dad says the final straw forcing his family to sell their home and move from Squamish is the lack of accessible and affordable childcare.
This is an extreme real-life example of what many parents experience in town — the struggle to find childcare that allows both parents to work without adding to the overwhelming chaos and guilt that, along with joy, parenting involves.
For Squamish’s close to 4,000 children, there are fewer than 800 childcare spaces, according to the District’s Squamish Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy, which was endorsed by council in October.
More than half of parents surveyed said there is not an adequate supply of spots for kids in Squamish.
The District projects that if the community continues to grow at its fast pace, 112.5 spaces per year will need to be added over the next five years in order to have 30 spaces available per 100 children by 2023.
The need is clearly great.
Until and unless universal childcare is available in B.C., there is likely no way to completely eliminate the childcare strain for every parent.
The need for affordable housing runs through almost every issue in Squamish, and childcare is no different.
Without affordable housing, attracting and keeping childcare workers is a problem and day care costs an extra burden for cash-strapped families.
But there is hope for parents in Squamish.
The District has a Squamish Community Child Care Action Planning and Implementation project in the works. It is a 12-month initiative to be complete by the spring of 2020. A full childcare inventory will be done, a local childcare working group will be struck and there will be a focus on reducing barriers for those most in need of help minding their kids.
Also, experts in the field who The Chief talked to signal that things are moving in the right direction both with the municipal focus and the current NDP/ Green government’s investments in childcare — though its likely that the $10-a day daycare promise for all would be much appreciated sooner rather than later.
A great place to start for parents in town looking to navigate our childcare situation is the Child Care Resource and Referral Program (CCRR) and Sea to Sky Community Services. The referral program helps connect parents to childcare spots in the corridor. It is a community-based program, that is neutral — meaning it is at an arm’s reach from Sea to Sky Community Services and its mandate is to serve children and parents in the area, not a particular agency or childcare provider.
Sea to Sky Community Services has a range of services to help families.
Access both through http://www.sscs.ca.