The Delta School District is undertaking a parent survey to determine which elementary schools are in need of before and after school childcare programs.
Due to the recent addition of childcare to the Ministry of Education, school districts are becoming more connected to childcare school programs, the school district notes, adding it is now gathering more information from parents of students on the needs here in Delta.
The Delta Board of Education last year approved a new childcare policy for the district, which aligns with provincial legislation.
Bill 8, the Education Statutes Amendment Act, came into effect in March 2020.
It’s an amendment of the School Act related to childcare facilities located on board of education properties, including a prescriptive order from the Ministry of Education regarding the formal establishment of board policies to govern such facilities.
The amendment includes a provision that school boards may provide childcare programs on district properties to students enrolled with the district if both the board is a licensee and that the childcare program is provided only on school days before or after school hours.
The board may charge fees to a student to whom the childcare program is provided if the fees are not more than the direct costs incurred.
A school board may also permit a licensee to use board property to provide a childcare program.
If a board permits a licensee to use board property, the board must ensure that any revenue obtained by the board from that use is not more than the direct and indirect costs incurred.
If a childcare program is provided on board property by the board or by a licensee other than the board, a school board must ensure that the program is in accordance with the district policy and does not disrupt or otherwise interfere with educational activities.
The school board was told the new policy is a “Deltafide” version of a template used province-wide, developed by legal counsel and shared through the BC School Trustees Association.
The Delta policy provides the board options on how the district can provide childcare as a licensee as well as clear direction on how it can establish contracts and partnerships with licensed childcare providers.
In 2020, Delta council approved a new Delta Childcare Strategy and Action Plan.
The strategy includes 24 recommendations which are grouped into three strategic directions including increasing accessibility, increased affordability as well as a focus on quality.
Among those recommendations is working towards a goal of adding 1,051 new childcare spaces over 10 years to reach the Canadian average ratio, as well as having a partnership with the Delta School District to explore options for co-locating childcare programs in elementary schools.
The city received a grant through the Community Child Care Planning Program to undertake a childcare needs assessment, which found 80 per cent of survey respondents reported that there is an inadequate supply of childcare services.