Too many straws break the Kaatza Childcare Centre’s back

Tyler Clarke, Lake Cowichan Gazette

The Kaatza Child Care and Early Learning Centre has been forced to call it quits, after 37 years of operating in Lake Cowichan.

It’s just low enrollment. …To remain open, the centre would have to incur a $4,000 per month loss….

One of the potential straws that broke the centre’s back has been a recent announcement that eligibility for child care subsidies will change, with those eligible for a subsidy being bumped down to households earning $21,480 or less per year, from the current $33,000.

“That’s a huge part of it,” Kaatza board chair Jennifer Pelton said, of reasons for the centre’s closure.

“The change in funding subsidies, cutbacks in grants for non-profits, declined enrolment….”

“What the parents have lost is a choice.” The choice has been with parents having early learning childhood educators look after and teach their children during the day.

It’s been not just a form of baby-sitting during the day, but of early learning as well.

With the Kaatza Child Care and Early Learning Centre closing down in October, it will take more than an increase in enrollment for it to re-open. The centre must sell off its assets to cover losses, so to start up again, Fetchko said, “They’d have to start from scratch.”

Looking back, Fetchko said that it’s been thanks to the community that the centre has been able to stay open for as long as it has been.

“It’s been touching, how the community has rallied with all of our struggles,” she said….