Bonnington Blossoms operator Kathy Sager, seen here in her home with her children Ayla and Anduin as well as Ruben Rustemeyer, says provincial funding for certain child care centres is lower than it should be. Photo: Tyler Harper

Home child care centres in B.C. need more funding, says operator

Kathy Sager says licensees receive far less than similar facilities

A woman running a child care centre out of her home says provincial funding is unfairly balanced against operations like hers.

Kathy Sager is an early childhood educator who operates Bonnington Blossoms on one floor of her home near Nelson. Blossoms is designated a multi-age centre by the province, which means one educator can care for up to eight children. One of those children can be younger than 12 months old, while the oldest can be 12 years old.

But because the centre is located in her residence, Sager receives far less funding as the same operation would if it was in a commercial space.

“If they would just give us equal funding, I think it would be one step in the right direction,” she said. “I don’t think it’s the answer to all the province’s child-care issues. There’s a lot more that needs to happen. I think that would be a step in the right direction, whereas right now it’s very discouraging for the type of operation I’m running.”

There are 14 different types of operations recognized by the province in the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. Funding is dependent on the type of operation, the age of the child and how many hours of care per day is provided.

Sager, for example, receives $3.70 per day for a child younger than 36 months who is with her more than four hours. That same rate increases to $12 if she owned or rented a space outside her home.

Sager could change her licence to a group child care centre and stay in her home, but then she couldn’t care for children younger than two-and-a-half years old and no older than school age, or children in Grade 1. Her wait list, which she showed a Star reporter, includes future parents in need of care for their infants.

“When I have three people calling and emailing me a week saying that they are in dire need of child care for their fetus or their one year old, then I want to help them…,” said Sager, who added she is considering opening a second centre just to meet demand.

“I also see that these families are valuing what I’m offering. They are saying, ‘OK, I like that there’s eight kids here. I like that you have a garden.’ They like that it’s at my house, because if it was at a commercial space, they would be at a totally different scene. And that’s not where everyone wants to send their 11 month old, one year old, two year old, three-year-old kid. People really value that, and I really value that for my community.”

Katrina Chen, the minister of state for child care, declined an interview request by the Star.

A statement provided by a ministry spokesperson attributed the funding gap to the higher cost of providing child care in a commercial space as opposed to a home.

“As we invest in the child care system after years of neglect, we are listening to input from the sector on how we can build a system that supports a diversity of providers.”

But Sager disputes that argument, and says there are plenty of costs being overlooked by the ministry. She pays for staff like other centres, and says mortgages for houses meant to include child care centres should be considered as well.

Child care has been a spotlight issue since the Premier John Horgan won last year’s provincial election.

In February, the NDP unveiled a $1 billion investment in child care meant to cut costs for up to 86,000 eligible families and open up more than 24,000 child care spaces within the next three years.

But lost in those plans, according to Sager, are the small centres struggling to operate out of homes.

“It just feels like we all get it, we get why this is valuable. But why is the government not valuing it? Why are they saying you deserve less, and these families who choose to come here deserve less? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Related:

B.C. starting universal daycare pilot program

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Applications open for B.C. child care construction fund

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s election day in B.C. (Black Press files)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Preliminary results indicate a Surrey-Cloverdale win for the NDP’s Mike Starchuk. (File)
Mike Starchuk leading Marvin Hunt in Surrey Cloverdale

MAP: B.C. provincial election results for Surrey-Cloverdale

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read