July 22nd, 2024

City launches childcare needs assessment survey

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on March 7, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The City of Lethbridge has launched a survey to learn the challenges faced by both families and childcare providers here.
Available at getinvolvedlethbridge.ca, the survey launched Wednesday and runs until April 2.
The City is doing a needs assessments into local childcare there being about a 600-space gap, according to preliminary research done last summer which was based on provincial data from 2021 and 2022..
The City’s project planning lead Logan Bartholow said Wednesday that while childcare legislation and regulation are the jurisdiction of the provinces, municipalities can play a role in reducing barriers and supporting the creation of childcare spaces and programming.
The assessment “is going to be really diving into the current context of childcare in Lethbridge. And we’re also going to be looking at challenges families are experiencing in accessing child care, looking at the challenges service providers are experiencing in maintaining but also increasing their current capacity and spaces,” said Bartholow.
The City will develop recommendations from the assessment which will be presented to city council in June.
The City wants to update the provincial numbers and “get a little bit more context on the current state,” Bartholow added.
The assessment will include recommendations for both immediate and long-term needs here. The survey is open to anyone but is aimed primarily at people with children aged 0-12.
Targeted stakeholder engagement will be conducted in the next week or so and analysis of data will be done within the next couple of months.
“Expanding capacity contributes to economic development and social equity within the community,” says Bartholow. “Ensuring greater access to affordable and high-quality childcare allows more parents to participate in the local workforce, enhancing productivity and nurturing a more inclusive society.”

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