More than 8,600 Kamloops kids without licensed or registered care: report - InfoNews

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More than 8,600 Kamloops kids without licensed or registered care: report

FILE PHOTO - There are not enough licensed or registered spaces to meet the needs of thousands of Kamloops kids.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Bridge Educational Society
May 04, 2020 - 5:30 PM

A problem faced by thousands of B.C. parents is taking the hot seat in Kamloops.

More than 70 per cent of Kamloops kids don’t have access to licensed or registered care, because the spaces don’t exist.

There are 12,025 children under the age of 12 but just 3,314 licensed or registered child care spaces, according to a recently completed City of Kamloops report.

The year-long look at child care in the city draws attention to the problem already voiced by many Kamloops guardians and childcare advocates — a lack of spaces.

Parents in Brocklehurst may have the hardest time finding child care spaces. The neighbourhood has 2,005 kids under the age of 12, yet only 120 child care spaces. Brocklehurst’s 1,885 children without child care account for a large chunk of the 8,684 Kamloops kids without registered or licensed day care.

After Brocklehurst, the two neighbourhoods most impacted by a lack of licensed or registered spaces are Westsyde and Aberdeen, with 1,014 and 842 kids without spaces, respectively.

Some neighbourhoods had no licensed or registered spaces whatsoever. Heffley Creek, Rose Hill, and the downtown West End neighbourhoods are among some of the six neighbourhoods with zero spaces.

Only two of the 24 neighbourhoods in Kamloops, downtown and Valleyview, were found to have an adequate number of licensed or registered spaces for the number of children.

Also addressed as a key problem for parents with or seeking child care is the lack of flexible, extended or weekend hours. The report authors note that specialized programs and wrap-around services should be offered in conjunction with care, and highlight transportation supports as an extremely important factor to address.

The report found some demographics are notably underserved. Families who are Indigenous, low income, refugees or immigrants have all been addressed as underserved communities, and the report suggests implementing culturally sensitive curriculum and standardization of care to ensure all children can have appropriate care.

The report found five main themes that play into the current child care crisis, and touch on how they could be adapted to better meet the needs of parents. Tools, space, staffing, funding and coordination have been listed as the five factors that contribute to a lack of accessible childcare, and each component looks at how the crisis could be better addressed.

The authors of the report urge an increased focus on the lack of child care spaces and encourage a locally coordinated approach with funding from higher levels of government.

Some of the ten recommendations that came from the report include advocating for local, provincially funded leadership, creating a table of community stakeholders to discuss and execute a child care service plan, and implementing child care in schools as a key method to create more available spaces.

The study was made possible by a $25,000 grant received last March, and completed by representatives from various organizations like the local school district, the City, United Way and Thompson Rivers University. The report will be put forth to the Kamloops city council tomorrow for information.

To read the full report, click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler 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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