Town looking to identify more childcare spaces

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

After hearing complaints about lack of childcare spaces in Ponoka, the town is looking into how to fix the issue.

Some residents have reported difficulties finding childcare in Ponoka and a few who have been hired to work in Ponoka from elsewhere have actually chosen to reside in other towns due to the issue of childcare.

Although it is not a serious issue at the moment, economic development officer Sarah Kraft says that it is something that should be looked in to.

“It’s not an immediate problem that just suddenly surfaced,” said Kraft. “But looking forward and planning for growth, we need to address those issues as they come up.”

According to Kraft, part of the problem with finding childcare is that many providers are unregulated and unlicensed.

“The biggest thing is to just get the information out there about how (being registered) can benefit your average mom who just wants to take in a few more kids,” said Kraft.

Registered day home providers are offered government subsidies, specialized training and the ability to have customers referred by day home programs such as Little Treasures.

Little Treasures family day home program, which is in charge of registering day homes, has experienced higher-than-normal volumes of parents looking for childcare.

The issue that Kraft and Little Treasures have seen is that there is a bottleneck effect with younger children. Under the regulations for licensed day home providers, operators cannot have more than three children under three years old or more than two children under two years old.

According to Little Treasures, the majority of people currently looking for daycare have younger children, which can compound the bottlenecking situation.

“On the bright side of things, this is what we want to happen, we want businesses to communicate with the economic development board when things like this happen,” said Kraft.