UVic Child Care Services (CCS) will discontinue their After School Care (ASC) program on June 30, 2017, according to a memo released Thursday, June 23.
The ASC program, catering to children ages six to 12 years old, will be phased out as part of renovations to the child care facilities, including Centre 6, which is used for the program currently. Funding for the renovations was approved on April 20, 2016, and amounts to $1 685 000.
Centre 6 will be converted as part of a “major renewal” of the CCS facilities, and will create 40 new full-day spaces for children ages three to five years old — spaces that Jim Forbes, director of campus services, says are in high demand.
Forbes told the Martlet that CCS was “always pressured to increase spaces” for full-day care, and because the ASC program only made use of Centre 6 for a few hours each day, it made sense to discontinue the program when renovations were approved.
The net effect of the conversion will be a greater capacity for full-time care, going from 50 to 90 available spaces — an 80 per cent increase. That works out to 50 000 additional hours of childcare per year, according to Forbes.
“It’s really optimizing tight funds at a time when we can really make a difference,” he said.
However, in a statement to the Martlet, four members of the Child Care Parents’ Advisory Board (PAB) expressed their opposition to program’s discontinuation on the grounds that it leaves parents of school-aged kids high and dry.
“We are concerned that the closure of this program will be an undue hardship to students, staff, and faculty with school-aged children,” says the letter, “and that it will diminish the university’s ability to recruit and retain top students and employees.”
“We strongly support the goal of increasing spaces for children ages 5 and younger, and especially toddler spaces, but this cannot be done at the expense of 45 school-aged children and their families.”
The full statement is included below.
CCS originally planned to discontinue the ASC program at the end of this month, but pushback from the PAB made executives revise that date to Jan. 1, 2017, and finally to June 30, 2017, so that parents had a full year to find childcare options off campus.
Kevin Tupper, UVSS director of finance and operations, said that as the PAB UVSS rep, he wanted to ensure that parents were given that full year’s notice.
Tupper also recognized that the program’s closure may affect some members of the UVSS. “We’ll help staff, students, and UVSS members where possible,” he said.
An open house for those in the childcare community will take place once construction and renewal schedules are determined. UVic community members may contact Forbes with any questions at 250-721-8310 or by email at email@example.com.
Memo released by UVic Child Care Services on June 23:
Statement from members of the UVic Child Care Parents’ Advisory Board:
We would like to go on record as strongly opposing the discontinuation of the after school care program. We are concerned that the closure of this program will be an undue hardship to students, staff, and faculty with school-aged children and that it will diminish the university’s ability to recruit and retain top students and employees. The after school care program represents an essential cornerstone in the university’s support of working parents and fills an important need for out of school care in the community. Both Frank Hobbs and Campus View elementary schools have extremely long wait lists for out of school care, and it is not at all clear that parents will have any other options for care if Centre 6 is closed. This will adversely impact the financial, educational, occupational, and social well-being of the affected families and will place an undue hardship on parents who rely on the university for support in managing what is often a very difficult work-life balance. This closure will also put us out of step with our peer institutions, such as UBC and SFU, which provide after school care to their campus families.
We strongly support the goal of increasing spaces for children ages 5 and younger, and especially toddler spaces, but this cannot be done at the expense of 45 school-aged children and their families. We would be willing to support the transfer of Centre 6 from its current location to another location on campus to allow the current building to be renovated to accommodate younger children. However we would only support this plan if a new facility was first identified on or near campus to provide ongoing after school care.
Most importantly, any decision on such an important topic should include not just the parent advisory board but also other key constituents, including the families currently in or applying to be a part of the Centre 6 community.
Erica Woodin – Centre 6 representative Parents’ Advisory Board
Tine Lathouwers – Centre 6 representative Parents’ Advisory Board
Vittorio Cheli – Centre 3 and GSS representative Parents’ Advisory Board
Jaclyn Davidson – Centre 4 representative Parents’ Advisory Board