The City of Prince George is applying for grant funding for research that would allow it to better understand child care needs in the community.
The research would inform a child care space creation action plan to guide the city in creating future child care spaces.
At the Jan. 7 regular city council meeting, council voted to authorize city staff to apply for a $25,000 grant in order to develop the plan.
The funding would come from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) community child care planning program.
In 2018, council received a report from the select committee on a healthy city framework with recommendations regarding the city’s role in advancing social development goals.
Many of the recommendations focused on poverty reduction with access to affordable child care, in a regulated care environment, as a key means to reduce poverty for families with young children.
The 2019 UBCM Child Care planning grant would provide funding for the city to collect information about child care needs in the community, create an inventory of existing childcare spaces, identify space creation targets over the next ten years and identify actions that can be taken to meet those targets.
The information would also be shared with B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development and could lead to future investment in childcare space creation.
The last time child care needs were assessed in Prince George was in 2015 when the Child, Youth and Family Network contracted UNBC to complete a community evaluation.
However, that study identified many challenges but did not include recommendations of the number of spaces that needed to be created in the long or short term, according to city staff’s report to council.
The grant funding would then cover the cost associated with contracts needed to collect the information regarding the child care needs of the community.