Filling the need for emergency child care

Victoria childcare provider offers unique service

Kristy Falconer recently started a day care in her home

Kristy Falconer recently started a day care in her home

Amberli Gorsline had no idea what she was up against in her search for immediate temporary child care for her young son.

Faced with a changing work schedule in April, the Victoria resident found a full-time day care spot for her two-and-a-half-year-old son, Malakai. But it wouldn’t open for another five weeks.

So the single mother picked up the phone and made 70 telephone calls to childcare providers, who said they couldn’t take her child either at the last minute, for such a short stay or because they were already booked.

Then she found Kristy Falconer, who has four permanent spots and three emergency care spaces available at K.D.’s Family Playcare, her Saanich-based provincially licensed family child-care service.

Falconer said she receives about four calls a week from parents looking for short-term care for their kids either because their work situation has changed, their regular caregiver is sick or their child-care centre is closing down, among other reasons.

“You have to have enough time to write the paperwork out and that’s it,” said Falconer, a military wife whose husband is often away at sea with the Canadian Navy.

When she became bed-ridden with the H1N1 flu in 2009, the Military Family Resource Centre stepped in to help with her two children until Falconer’s husband could return from sea.

“I got a new perspective,” Falconer said, adding that she now hopes other providers will follow suit by offering a similar emergency care service.

There is “a huge need” for more quality permanent, flexible and emergency child-care spaces in Greater Victoria, said Belinda Macey, who runs the Victoria Child Care Resource and Referral Service.

“Many of our care providers want to do a Monday to Friday, nine to 10-hour day,” Macey said, adding that Falconer is one of the only child-care providers of more than 350 listed in the centre’s databank categorized as an emergency care service.

When Gorsline found Falconer, it was a relief knowing there was someone with such an accommodating schedule and the child-care credentials she was looking for.

“It was heaven-sent that I found her,” said Gorsline. “I was down to the wire.”

 

emccracken@vicnews.com