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Richmond assesses state of childcare

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The purpose of the recently adopted 2017-2022 Richmond Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy (RCCNAS) is twofold: one is to take stock of current service levels across the city and two, to lay out plans for improvement moving forward. The big news is since the last RCCNAS was completed in 2009, more than 1,800 licensed childcare spaces have been implemented.

While childcare matters are typically managed by the federal and provincial governments, municipal has the ability to add value, for example working with property developers in the creation of new facilities.

“We’ve made major strides in improving access to child care within Richmond,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “But there is need for more capacity to serve children of all ages and city council is committed to working with our community partners and other levels of government to address this demand and be a municipal leader in the creation of a comprehensive network of services for Richmond families.”

Other big strides taken in the last five years include the opening of three city-owned childcare facilities for children from birth to school age with five more on the way, approving an Early Childhood Hub to be built in Capstan Village, and adding a childcare program locator to the interactive map on the Richmond website.

Despite these positive measures, a recent public engagement survey revealed parents are still having a tough time finding suitable and affordable placements for their kids, and on the flip side operators have faced difficulties recruiting and keeping qualified staff, as well as offering competitive compensation rates while keeping parent fees low. Unsurprisingly, lease prices are also a big issue.

Looking to the future, the city has stated it will continue to pursue partnerships with the other branches of government in order to find solutions to the above challenges.

To read the complete assessment and strategy, visit www.richmond.ca/childcare.

By Benjamin Yong

November 23, 2017

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