Richmond continues to expand child care services
26 October 2017
Nearly 2,000 new licensed child care spaces have been created in Richmond since 2009. The recently adopted 2017-2022 Richmond Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy summarizes the City’s success in expanding local services, while also setting goals for continued growth over the next five years.
“We’ve made major strides in improving access to child care within Richmond,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “But there is need for more capacity to serve children of all ages and City Council is committed to working with our community partners and other levels of government to address this demand and be a municipal leader in the creation of a comprehensive network of services for Richmond families.”
Provision of child care is primarily the responsibility of the federal and provincial governments. However, through the City’s own strategy it is able to augment services for local families. This includes working with property developers to leverage and ensure new child care facilities/spaces are created. This is done by securing built child care spaces or cash in lieu, to go towards child care spaces, from developers through the development approval process. This supports Council’s direction to ensure population growth benefits the community.
Since the last child care needs assessment was undertaken in 2009:
- the supply of licensed child care spaces being provided by private businesses and not-for-profit agencies has increased from 3,974 spaces in 2009 to 5,802 spaces as of 2016 (a 46 per cent increase)
- three new City-owned child care facilities have been opened providing 133 licensed child spaces for children from birth to school age
- through negotiations with developers the City has successfully secured an Early Childhood Development Hub and five more City-owned child care facilities which are currently in development (when built, 250 licensed child care spaces will be added to the overall supply)
- the Richmond Child Care Locator and a child care layer was added to the Richmond Interactive Map on the City’s website, allowing parents to search online for licensed child care programs within Richmond. Visit:
While there has been an increase in licensed child care spaces, the City’s recent public engagement survey reports that parents are still facing challenges finding suitable and affordable placements for their children. City-wide the greatest need is for infant and toddler care, school-age care, and inclusive child care for children requiring extra support. Child care operators expressed difficulties in providing inclusive child care and noted this was due to the limited funding for early intervention services and qualified staff to provide this specialized care.
The survey also reported that keeping parent fees affordable while also trying to increase compensation rates for child care workers remains a challenge for child care operators as does recruitment and retention of qualified child care staff. The vulnerability of affordable leased space for child care uses was also noted as a concern given the pace of redevelopment in Richmond.
The City of Richmond’s vision for the next five years is to continue to be a municipal leader in fostering conditions for a comprehensive child care system in Richmond. In its role, the City will pursue partnerships and build relationships with senior levels of government to realize quality, accessible and affordable child care for people who live and work in Richmond. With continued leadership from the City, and a commitment from senior levels of government, child care will continue to contribute to the city’s quality of life.