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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Daycare needs assessment summary report discussed at Town council


Toni Lucas - At their January 9 meeting council for the Town of Pincher Creek accepted as presented a report by consulting company Motivention which was received at council's December 7, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting.  According to Town documents, "The driving force behind the study was the capacity and age of the Town Hall and Children's World Day Care facility i.e. no room to expand and renovations needed to bring the day care rooms, washrooms, kitchen and other facilities to an improved standard... However, after reflection, it was determined that the scope of the study should be expanded to include an overall needs assessment for child care services in the community so that any facility which is built/renovated, would in fact meet community needs both now and into the future."

179 responses to the report form part of the study. which includes parent surveys, employer surveys, public meetings to gather information, and input from child care providers in the community.

At the January 9 meeting, Councillor Lorne Jackson said "I was quite surprised during the rollout of that report as to how many placement spots are needed in this community... I think the school divisions are quite amenable to working with us, and I'm glad to see that."

Council met with the Livingstone Range School Division and the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division in December regarding early child care, daycare, and after school programs. "We found we had a lot of common ground to move forward, and maybe expand some of those operations," said councillor Jackson.

According to the report, "three different on-line surveys were created to help build a broad understanding of perspective related to the child care needs in the community," including a general survey targeting all residents, a "Child Care Professional Survey-targeted community members that work directly in child care" including licensed and unlicensed caregivers, and an employer survey targeting local business "to share their experiences related to child care needs within the community." 89% of the respondents were female.

Excerpts from the report: 

"Based on the Early Child Development Mapping Project, there are approximately 500 children ages 0-4 years of age in the Pincher Creek Area. In addition, Alberta has experienced a 20% increase in births over the past four years. This is a significant number of the population that have the potential to serve as the anchor of a community."

"Results suggest that 80% of working families noted needing child care outside of the regular business hours. This translates to more flexiblity in hours of operation, additional staff to cover shifts and options for child care programs."

"It is significant to note that with the child care subsidy threshold being >$50,000 per year, 60% of the survey respondents would qualify for full and partial subsidy in licensed childcare."

"Information gathered from the government website and Child Care Lookup, identifies there are currently two licensed day cares and two licensed out of school care programs within Pincher Creek. This equates to 147 child care spaces and 93 out of school care spaces. Reports from both program directors, claim that all spaces are full and additional requests are added to a waitlist. It was also noted that a majority of the spaces are full-time with little to no offering for part-time care. In addition to these spaces, verbal reports suggest that there are a few unregulated day homes in the community, as they do not have to have a license to operate there is not information to support the amount or quality of these spaces."

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