Child care appeals rising in Kamloops again | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Child care appeals rising in Kamloops again

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March 28, 2021 - 8:30 AM

While many of us are hoping for a return to normalcy following the pandemic, when it comes to finding child care in Kamloops "normal" isn't necessarily a good thing.

Several daycares have reopened after last year's lockdown, but the issue of finding one that will take your children on is still proving problematic for many. 

In fact, the number of people who are requesting help with finding daycare is rising again.

"The vast majority of daycares have reopened (since last year's lockdown) and continue to operate daycare on a daily basis to the very best of their ability, and are essential workers in my opinion," the Child Care Referral Services' Maureen Doll told iNFOnews.ca.

However, the daycare gap will grow some more in June when Big Adventures Daycare, which is allowed 36 children per day, is closing.

And while owner-operator Dale Schiavon says she was able to find new daycare spots for some of her clients, others are still looking.

"I'm retiring because I'm 67 years old and I've been in this space 25 years... I think I've done my duty," Schiavon said, laughing.

As well, two daycares in Kamloops remain closed since the pandemic began, according to the Child Care Referral Service.

READ MORE: Daycare fees are rising, but report says many centres may close due to pandemic

Families that reached out to the agency for help with finding child care plunged from 66 in February 2020 to a total of only 16 the next month, April 2020.

But the numbers rose again in February 2021 to 71 requests for aid.

Doll says care for infant toddlers and after-school continue to be lacking in Kamloops.

"Staffing is a huge issue. There are daycares that don't have the staff."

Michaela Haney would agree. Haney, who operates a licensed home-based daycare, said many Kamloops operations may have to reduce or deny care because they don't have enough staff to cover when someone gets ill or need time off for other reasons.

"I know there have been daycares in town that have had to adjust or reduce their operational hours (during the) pandemic," Haney said.

READ MORE: Hundreds of new daycare spaces opening up for Kamloops, Okanagan families

In a statement emailed to iNFOnews.ca, the Ministry of Children and Family Development said it has a recruitment and retention plan for early childhood educators, which includes "bursaries, training, and wage enhancements."

The province also says $7.4 million was invested on a total of 895 early childhood student post-secondary seats between 2018 and 2021.

"More than 36,000 children have received child care for ten dollars per day or less since the beginning of the Childcare B.C. plan," the province's statement says, referring to the plan that was introduced as a pilot project for 10 dollars a day child care but has yet to be fully implemented.

But Maureen Doll with the Child Care Referral Service says a higher wage for child care workers would go a long way to helping resolve issues with the system.

"They are children's first teachers. And they deserve the same respect and wages as many in the education field."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Darren Rathwell or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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