More daycare operations in Cranbrook and Kimberley have been approved for the B.C. government’s $10-a-day ChildCareBC program.
Summit Community Services Society (SCSS) has two providers taking part. Little Summit Daycare in Cranbrook has two programs that have been approved — an infant/toddler program (12 spaces) and a program for children aged three to five (24 spaces). Second Steps Group Daycare in Kimberley has 24 spaces for children 2.5 years old to Kindergarten-aged.
Besides the two SCSS day cares, two other Cranbrook operations have been approved for the $10-a-day programs. Community Campus Children’s Society, which operates Kids on Campus Children’s Centre near the College of the Rockies, has 40 spaces under the program — 32 spaces for those aged 2.5 years to kindergarten and a further eight spaces for multi-age children.
The Cranbrook and Kimberley spots are a small portion of the 1,375 spaces announced B.C.-wide, but their impact on and benefit to the community is manifest.
“It’s a huge benefit for parents,” said Sarah Jacklin, Executive Director of the Summit Community Services Society. “This means that parents’ will see savings of about $900 a month. For example, we’ve had some bills that have been $1,100, that are going down to $200. It’s a huge reduction in the cost parents have to pay. Lots of parents might not have to work that second job — this will afford them a lot more flexibility.”
Child care and day care have undergone great changes over the past years. Staffing issues, availability, costs, and other factors facing communities have put great pressures on parents and providers. Jacklin sees programs like the $10-a-day and other initiatives as going a long way to ease some of the those pressures as child care moves into the future.
“I think the government is doing a great job in putting an emphasis on child care, through the $10-a-day programs and also its Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative,” Jacklin said. “If programs aren’t actually in the $10-a-day day careprograms, they are getting offered the Child Care Fee Reduction.
“Across the board, parents are seeing savings, and I think that’s only going to grow.”
Jacklin said the Ministry is putting a lot of emphasis on training of Early Child Care educators, which will have an enormous impact of the future of day care in B.C.
“Because there’s a huge staffing shortage throughout the province. They’re offering a ton of initiatives — paying for your early childhood educator certificate, for example. I think a lot more people are going to be able to access child care.”
Speaking of moving into the future. Summit Community Services Society is marking a special year in 2023 — that is 50 years of operation. And BGC Cranbrook, a non-profit with 12 infant-toddler spaces and 24 2.5-years-old to Kindergarten aged spaces is coming into the fold.
The Cranbrook-based non-profit society and a registered charitable organization was founded in 1971 and incorporated in 1973 as the Child Care Society of East Kootenay. It has grown considerably since then, providing community programs for the Cranbrook and Kimberley area for half a century.
As well as child care programs, SCSS also does other work that doesn’t receive a high profile due to the nature of the clients served.
In Cranbrook there is Stopping the Violence Counselling, Police Based Victims’ Services, Community Based Victims’ Services, and Men’s Group Counselling. These programs all assist people who have experienced significant trauma, and our experienced group of Counsellors is able to assist with either group or one-on-one counselling.
In Kimberley SCSS also runs a Seniors’ Helping Seniors’ Program and a Seniors One-Stop program as well as both the Community and Police Based Victims’ Services.
As SCSS moves forward into the future, Jacklin says the Society is looking to expand many of those programs.
“We’re looking to expand a lot of those services. We’ve noticed over the pandemic there was an increased need in the community for mental health services and victim-based services. We constantly run a wait-list for most of our programs. In the future we hope to expand not only our child care but our mental health services, so they can be accessed by more community members.”
SCSS has a staff of 35 full-time and part-time employees and is guided by an Executive Director and a Board of Directors composed of local citizens who volunteer their time and expertise to oversee the operation of the society. SCSS owns the Mike Carey building on 10th Avenue in Cranbrook where it is headquartered.