In quest of a forever home for child care

After school care in Sooke is a challenge for provider

ffordable daycare — and finding a daycare spot in general — is an ongoing challenge for parents in Sooke. And elsewhere.

In an article last year, CBC  found that B.C. monthly rates are the highest for any province or territory, averaging in at $850 for a two year old (“Child care by the numbers,” July 2013).

One consolation for parents is that as kids get older, the costs go down. School-aged kids who require only out-of-school care are cheaper, with an average cost of $347 a month.

Care facility operators also have their set of challenges.

Kids Quest Child Care Society is one of them. Kids Quest is unique on two fronts. First, it is a not-for-profit facility. As outlined on ChildCare.net, not-for-profit centres can receive government funding. But, in order to do so, they must be run by a board that is composed of at least 51 per cent parents. It is the parents’ involvement that determines the services and programs provided by the facility.

The other thing that makes Kids Quest unique is that they currently operate out of two local elementary schools. Running a facility on school grounds, though, does come with its challenges.

They currently rent space from the school district and run three before-and-after school care programs out of two local elementary schools. However, as the annual demands for classroom space change in Sooke, Kids Quest holds its breath at the end of every year to see what will be available for the year ahead.

The convenience of operating out of the elementary schools has both its perks and quirks. The best perk is that the children can often stay in the same building. The oddest quirk, manager and society coordinator Christine McGuinness points out, is the children at Saseenos elementary cannot play on the playground equipment — the stuff they play on while at school there — because the equipment does not pass the licensing requirement specific to the Kids Quest.

But the biggest quirk is not knowing where they will be in the year to come takes its toll. To address this, they are looking for a permanent location.

According to Harold Cull, the secretary-treasurer at SD62, it’s an annual challenge.

“We’re estimating space requirements on estimated enrolment,” he said, noting that accurate numbers are not available until the actual school year starts, and the final budget is not approved until June. Added to the complications is that Sooke is one of the few districts with growing enrolment. With the demands on space increasing, Cull admits “we are not in a position to commit to them” on a permanent full-time basis.

“We need to find a forever home,” said Andrea Brygadyer, a parent board member.

“We’ve spent this whole year looking for spaces,” said McGuinness.

In a perfect world, McGuinness would love to see a rent-to-own option, in a big house that is commercially zoned.

In the meanwhile, they will be at Sooke and Saseenos for another year, and continue their search for a forever home.

For parents looking for childcare for their children, there is a referral program available in Sooke. It’s called the Sooke Westshore Childcare Referral Program (CCRR). CCRR provides parents with a list of daycares, suggested questions you might consider asking in choosing child care, and child care subsidy applications for lower income families.

They can be reached at http://www.sfrs.ca/ccrr.html, or by phone at 250-642-5153.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

Chris Grzywacz, development agent for cannabis supplier Seed and Stone’s, holds products from the new Songhees Cannabis S + S store on April 20. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
First cannabis store opens on Songhees Nation, creates economic opportunity says chief

The Songhees Cannabis S + S had a soft launch at its 1502 Admirals Road location on April 20

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Darrel McLeod won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2018 for his first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. His newly-released memoir, Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, follows as a sequel. (Black Press Media file)
Critically acclaimed Sooke author releases new memoir

Peyakow follows as a sequel to Darrel McLeod’s first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age

RCMP have appealed to the public for help identifying the man. (Black Press Media file image)
Police, dog unit called after man exposed himself at West Shore elementary school

West Shore RCMP credits students, aged 11 and 5, for seeking help

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read