Delta will be getting a better understanding of its childcare situation, after council voted to apply for funding to undertake a childcare needs assessment.
At the Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting this September, the province announced a $25,000 grant for cities wanting to do an assessment of the area’s childcare needs. These assessments are intended to look at the need for daycares in the community, an inventory of existing childcare spaces, space-creation targets and an action plan for creating more childcare spaces.
This grant comes after the July 2018 Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, which was put forward by the Ministry of Children and Family Development to help create more daycare spaces within the province.
School districts are able to apply for this money, as well as other daycare providers. This could be especially helpful for some districts, as after the court ruling to reinstate class size and composition limits in B.C. schools was put into place, many districts found daycares had to move out of classrooms they had previously occupied, a Delta staff report said.
Delta had few childcare centres that were affected by this change, the report continued, but the Delta School District completed an informal needs overview as part of an application for provincial funding.
A city-wide needs assessment hasn’t been completed since 2006, however. That assessment, which is not available on the City of Delta’s website, was updated in 2011 with more neighbourhood-specific needs.
In early 2018, Delta’s child and youth committee began collecting information for a new childcare needs assessment. So far, the committee has made a comparison of childcare strategies from around Metro Vancouver, and has completed an outline for a Delta-specific strategy.
Doing a full needs assessment will cost around $30,000, based on cost comparisons from other cities. As the provincial grant money only goes up to $25,000, the city could be required to pay at least $5,000 to complete the assessment.
Delta has until Jan. 19, 2019 to apply for the needs assessment grant. When the assessment is complete, Delta could apply for other funding to help create more childcare spaces in the city.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund was put forward by the Ministry of Education, not the Ministry of Children and Family Development. We regret the error and have updated the article.