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Friday, June 8, 2018

Children’s World Daycare to close, Mayor promises solution by fall


Chris Davis - After years of financial struggles, Pincher Creek's Children's World Daycare Society (CWDS) has announced they will be closing their doors effective August 31, 2018, a decision likely to affect 70 - 100 children and their caregivers.

A meeting was held on the evening of May 7, 2018 with families and staff from CWDS, at which the announcement was made. The organization is a non-profit provincially licensed and accredited Childcare Center, and has been providing childcare to families in Pincher Creek, Piikani, and the MD of Pincher Creek and surrounding area for over 40 years.  It offers child care at the Town Hall building and St. Michael's School.* 

According to a statement issued by the CWDS board of directors, "This decision came after many months of deliberating and is not the result of any one event or circumstance but an accumulation of many. We would like to thank all of our current and former families for their support and wish them all well."

Town of Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg issued a statement as well:

"Firstly, I want to thank everyone who has been associated with Children's World Daycare and to celebrate the positive effect that this organization has had on Pincher Creek for over forty years."

"Council understands the critical importance of high quality, accessible and affordable child care in Pincher Creek. For our community to thrive, we recognize that early childhood education is essential."

"The Town has been working with many partners including regional licensing, human services child development branch, Holy Spirit School Division and Livingstone Range School Division, among others to create a plan for childcare in Pincher Creek."

"Further to the announcement by Children's World Daycare this evening, the Town of Pincher Creek is committed to ensuring minimal interruption to child care services and will have a licensed childcare facility open by September 3, 2018."

"At this time, there are many unanswered questions as to how the facility will run and we ask that you give us time to develop a plan. Please ensure that you have signed in to the meeting today and that we have your contact information so that we can connect with you."

"Questions can be directed to childcare@pinchercreek.ca and a response will be provided as we are able to answer questions."

The announcement comes after years of financial instability for the non-profit organization. 

Some background 

CWDS Director Marie Meckelborg appeared as a delegation before Pincher Creek's Town Council on November 23, 2017. Meckelborg told council the society was hoping for rent relief for January and February 2016, after an increase in Alberta's minimum wage significantly impacted their bottom line. Meckelborg's letter to the Town explained that CWDS had a significant negative net income for the month of October 2015, at -$16,724.46.

Town council agreed to a request from CWD to waive accounts receivable for rent and upcoming rent until April 1, 2018 and to provide a $20,000 grant to the society to keep it afloat.

During an in-camera section of Town Council's May 2, 2018 meeting council decided to deny an April 4, 2018 request from CWD "for further rent relief and financial assistance for a six month bookkeeping contract, due to the decision of Children's World Day Care Society not to proceed with the February 26 Council proposal," the details of which appear to have been discussed in-camera.

In September of 2017 the Town of Pincher Creek released the final draft of a Daycare Proposal prepared by Motivention, a Calgary company specializing in early childhood development.  The proposal examined the possibility of a combined child care facility in Pincher Creek.  

A survey included in that document indicated that 70% of respondents did not believe families in our community have access to adequate child care. As of July 2017 at the Town Hall location there were 39 children receiving full-time care, 9 receiving part-time care, and 1 receiving drop-in care.  At the St. Michael's School (also as of July 2017) location there were 14 children receiving full-time care, 11 receiving drop-in care, and 29 receiving after-school care.  In August of 2017 at Canyon School 6 children were receiving full-time care, 11 were receiving part-time care, and 19 were receiving after-school care.

Motivention projections based on Children’s World Daycare St. Michael’s location and Town Hall Location.
Motivention projected a declining need for child care in Pincher Creek based on established trends, from 100 children in 2021 to only 66 by 2036.  "However, there are children utilizing private day homes in the Pincher Creek area that may change to the new location thus stabilizing the number."

"As per the Government of Alberta, the minimum net floor space required per child for Daycare is 3 square metres."

Motivention suggested a 4485 square foot facility.

Child care rates at Children's World Daycare are currently lower than the provincial average in 2012, according to Motivention's synopsis.
Current child care rates at Children's World Daycare (Motivention data)

* Corrected for accuracy 

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