In British Columbia, there are many types of child care. Whether or not a child care program needs a licence depends primarily on how many children the program is caring for. By law, if a provider cares for more than two children not related to them they must be licensed. Quality child care programs that provide a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for children can be found in a variety of settings.
In-own-home care is when you arrange for someone to look after your child in your own home. The caregiver may be referred to as a nanny, an au pair or a babysitter. A parent using in-own-home care is considered to be an employer and must contact the Canada Revenue Agency and the BC Workers’ Compensation Board to find out workplace requirements and obligations.
Family child care is the provision of child care in a private home (other than the child’s own home) for one or two children who are unrelated to the caregiver. Exceptions to the number of children in care can be made for sibling groups.
LNR child care providers are not regulated by licensing regulations or monitored by licensing officers, and parents are solely responsible for monitoring the quality of care. LNR family child care providers who have chosen to become a member of their local Child Care Resource and Referral Services (CCRR) have gone through a registration process.
Please contact our office to learn more about the criteria for becoming a Registered Licence-not-Required child care provider.
Licensed child care is monitored by licensing officers and must meet the requirements of provincial child care regulations. Locally, the Child Care Licensing Program is administered under BC’s Community Care Facility Licensing legislation through the Fraser Health Authority. Licensed child care providers must comply with regulations regarding staff qualifications, child/staff ratio, health and safety, space and equipment, and guidance and discipline. Anyone 12 or over who is ordinarily present at a licensed child care facility must go through a criminal record check.
|·||Licensed family child care usually involves one caregiver providing care to a small group of children (no more than seven) in the provider’s own home. The childrens’ ages can range from birth to 12 years.|
|·||Group child care involves a number of staff caring for larger groups of children of a specific age group. There are infant and toddler centres, centres that serve children from 30 months to school entry, and out-of-school centres.|
|·||Preschools also serve children from 30 months to school entry; however, these are part-day programs (four hours maximum) and usually only operate during the school year.|
Staff in group child care facilities have additional training requirements. To learn more about this, and for more information on licensing regulations and how they apply to the different types of licensed child care settings, please refer to the online Parents’ Guide to Selecting Child Care, at: http://www.cf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/publications.htm.
It takes time to find child care that is a good fit for your family. Some considerations that you might want to take into account include:
Is it important that the child care be located along your transportation route? Or are you willing to backtrack or go out of your way? If so, will the extra commute time be a burden on your family or difficult for your child?
Do you want child care located close to your work? Is it important to you that your child is in physical proximity to you during the day? Do you want child care that is located near your home, allowing your child to develop social connections in their own community?
Do you want your child to be the only one being cared for, having the undivided attention of the caregiver? Or do you value opportunities for peer learning and socialization with other children? Do you prefer a small home-like setting or a larger group setting? Are you looking for child care for more than one child? If so, would you prefer your children to be cared for together in the same setting?
Do you need full-time or part-time child care? What hours of care do you need? Do you have a lengthy commute and a long workday? Do you require care in the evenings or on weekends? Do you have rotating shifts? Care outside of typical work days and hours can be more challenging to find, so if this is the case, give yourself extra time to search.
Think about the methods of guidance and discipline you are comfortable with. What methods do you feel help build your child’s self-esteem and encourage positive social relationships? What are your child’s individual needs? Will these be met? What kind of activities does your child enjoy? Will there be opportunities for them to engage in these? What type of communication and feedback do you need from your child care provider?
Child care subsidy is available for those who qualify and are in need of child care or preschool. For information on the Child Care Subsidy program, please visit the government website at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/subsidy_promo.htm. If you think you might be eligible, call the Ministry of Children and Family Development at:
1-888-338-6622, or access the Child Care Subsidy Eligibility Evaluator at www.childcaresubsidy.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareSubsidyEvaluator/step00.aspx
Access to the Ministry of Human Resources is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Automated Telephone Inquiry Line at 1-866-866-0800 (toll-free).