Child Care in the Central Okanagan

An Important and Sometimes Overwhelming Task

by Melissa Hunt, Executive Director, Kelowna Child Care Society

The Kelowna Child Care Society (KCCS) office is a busy hub of parents with children, and child care providers gathering resources, toys and activity bins and information to ensure that the children in their care are happy, healthy and well looked after. As mothers (all of us are in the office) we have had to look for child care at different stages in our children’s lives. Because our children mean the world to us, this process understandably caused some anxiety and apprehension especially if our job or school schedule required us to find child care immediately or outside standard working days and hours. Knowing our children were being looked after by a supportive, caring and reputable provider allowed for us to be more present and engaged in our jobs and generally at ease having peace of mind that our children were safe and happy while we were at work or school.

Before becoming the Executive Director of KCCS I must admit I did not know about the different child care options in BC or know what to look for in a quality child care program. Like many parents who come to our office, I had a part-time job and needed child care immediately. Fortunately I stumbled upon an excellent In-home Multi-Age Child Care program (day-home) where my daughter had great experiences, was introduced to children of varying ages and by modeling her abilities to the younger children she excelled in her growth and development as well which was something I had not considered as an important component of my daughter’s child care experience. My preference had been to find her a space in a Group Child Care centre, as I believed, at the time, that those centres were the only child care programs that were licensed by the government. Now, since working in the child care sector, I have learned about the different child care programs available and the benefits of each depending on the particular family’s needs.

When giving advice to parents, our Child Care Resource and Referral Program staff explain the different types of child care available, inform parents of what to look for and suggest questions to ask when calling or visiting a child care program. Every family and child is different and will have different needs and preferences when choosing child care. However, it’s important to remember that during the first 2,000 days of a child’s life the most brain development occurs so choosing a child care provider to educate, nurture and support your child’s development is key. But the choice made is a unique decision for every family.

Types of child care:

There are two types of child care in BC; Licensed and Licensed-Not-Required (LNR) Child Care.

Licensed child care programs provide care for three or more children. They must meet specific requirements for health and safety, staffing qualifications, space and equipment, staff to child ratio, and program standards. Licensed child care programs are monitored and inspected by regional health authority Community Care Facility Licensing programs.

Unlicensed (license-not-required) child care providers may care for only two children or a sibling group, not related to them, at any one time.  If they care for more than the allowed number of children outlined in the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, they may be operating illegally.

Visit for a printable Child Care Check List.

If you would like more information on child care resources, referrals and childhood development, please call, email or visit our office.

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