Letters: child care expansion

Letter from the Childcare Parenting Alliance

The claim reported in The Ring on June 24 that UVic child care support is expanding is misleading. A memo issued on June 23 by the Director of Campus Services actually amounts to cuts in child care services for school-age children. 45 spots in the After School Care (ASC) program will be eliminated and the building in which it is housed will be renovated for two new preschool programs. One critical element of child care will be abandoned in an attempt to address shortages in another. In fact, the change will not address the more pressing need for those 5 and under. The demand for toddler spaces (18-36 month olds) far exceeds that for preschool age (3-5 year olds).

Despite repeated demands of members of the Parent Advisory Board (PAB) to hold a town hall on this issue, no consultation has taken place with the Uvic campus community to determine actual childcare needs. Instead, the PAB was denied the opportunity to vote and was also not permitted to fulfill its role to consult with the wider parent community prior to the decision. The lack of consultation and transparency of purpose for the closure of ASC with the child care parent community are of great concern. These actions are particularly surprising in light of the Child Care Services philosophy of excellence, which includes “meaningful involvement of families in the child care experience and respectful communication with families.” They also undermine the importance of support across childhood years, 0–12, in the modern workplace.

The UVic ASC is an essential resource for working parents at the university. The program runs Monday through Friday from school closure to 5:30pm, with staff picking up children from school. This support is essential to allow faculty, students, and staff with school-aged children to remain on campus for important afternoon meetings and classes. The centre is also open on all professional development days, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; early or unplanned school closures (e.g., student-led conferences, parent teacher interviews, teachers’ strikes); and full-day programming is also provided during the school winter break and the two-week spring break.

Closing the ASC program will impact on those currently enrolled and those already in UVic’s preschool with plans to access it in the near future. It will create undue hardship for campus parents by adversely impacting the ability of students, faculty and staff to participate in full-time study and work.

Submitted by the 
Dr. Erica Woodin (psychology)
Dr. Irina Paci (chemistry)
Dr. Maycira Costa (geography)
Dr. Elisabeth Gugl (economics)
Dr. Basma Majerbi (business)


Letter from Campus Services

The University of Victoria has provided services at the child care centre for more than 40 years, and recognizes the value of these services to the campus community. The difficult decision to close the after school care program was only made in order to create 40 new full-day child care spaces.

Recognizing that this choice is a disruption for some families, it’s also an important lifeline for many others. Expanding full-time services for 40 younger children allows university space to be fully utilized while adding more than 50,000 hours of quality child care service each year. In the overall strategy, UVic Child Care Services also committed to researching multi-aged care models inclusive of children under 5 years old within the newly created spaces.

The university’s commitment to child care includes nearly $1.7 million in funding for 2016/17 to renovate and upgrade the child care centres. UVic Child Care Services engaged the UVic Child Care Parent Advisory Board (UVCCAB), comprised of student, staff and faculty, and received a full spectrum of feedback (both critical and supportive) of the anticipated impacts of this decision. The consultation process was critical in establishing a one-year notice period for the program’s closure (scheduled for July 2017) in order to give parents adequate time to find alternate ASC programs or care arrangements. The UCCPAB also recommended that a comprehensive transition plan be developed to support parents over the course of the year.

The university remains fully committed to helping and supporting families over the course of the next year in their search for care including establishing a working group to research alternate solutions and care models in the community both on and off campus.

Sincerely, Jim Forbes
Director, Campus Services

In this story

Keywords: child care, family centre, children, administrative

Related stories