Society must close after school care program or risk folding

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
November 8, 2013 01:00 AM

The Halfmoon Bay Childcare Centre Society must close its after-school care program at the end of this month or risk closing the daycare as well.

"It's purely financial. We don't have enough families utilizing the program and with all the government cuts to funding, childcare it's not sustainable," said daycare manager Jen Hoile.

"I personally think it's due to the economic situation for everybody, because we've been working on this for ages, trying to figure out a way to make it work. The board by no means did this lightly. It's been agony trying to find a different solution, but basically we need about 15 kids to just not be in a deficit and we don't have it."

The society's after-school care program was well used when kindergarten was only half day, but Hoile said when it changed to full day a couple of years ago, the program "took a hit."

She also pointed to the economy as a reason for less usage of the program, saying many families can't afford to have both parents working and pay for childcare, so one parent often stays at home (or arranges work hours to be at home when school's out) to cut childcare costs.

"Now we have a lot of drop-ins, but it's not consistent enough to get our numbers up, so we can't do it. Basically we were looking at a year from now both programs being sunk if we didn't close the out-of-school care," Hoile said, adding the daycare program run by the society is self sustaining, but has been "heavily subsidizing," the out-of-school care program for the past few years.

Hoile said the decision to close the program wasn't taken lightly and that the childcare society plans to engage the community in the coming months to find out what kind of after-school care program they might support in the future.

"Our goal is to work with the community and try to figure out what they would be interested in, what would pull in the consistent usage. If it's not the need, what would you want? We need to figure out how we can actually make this self-sustaining," Hoile said.

"We all feel really sad about the whole situation. We wish we could keep going, but it doesn't make sense to have two programs go down or have the whole society go down in a year when we can actually work with community members for the next year and figure out, is there a way to bring this back?"

If you have some feedback you'd like to provide or some ideas for the childcare society, you can contact them via email at halfmoonbaychildcare@gmail.com or call 604-885-3739.

Find out more about the childcare society at www.hmbchildcaresociety.com.


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