The Cowichan Valley Regional District has created the Cowichan Region Childcare Plan to bring more child care to the region.

The regional district calls it a comprehensive regional plan to expand child care services over the next decade.

The CVRD says the region currently has child care coverage for about 22-percent of children up to 12 years old.

It says an important need at this time is to provide more care for infants and toddlers.

The CVRD says the cost and availability of child care spaces are major barriers for family.

The district found that half of all families say these factors prevent them from getting their preferred choice of child care.

Another concern is accessibility to child care by public transit.

According to John Elzinga, General Manager of Community Services for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, “We now anticipate that one in five families in the Cowichan region have unmet needs and aggressive increases in coverage rates are required to respond to existing demand.”

Elzinga says, “With the child care space creation targets recommended in this plan, we now have a solid understanding how and where our local and regional governments can support the creation of new child care programs and centres.”

The regional plan also includes increased resources for children with extra support needs, promotion of child care as a career and improved accessibility to training, greater cultural diversity across child care centres, and extended and non-traditional hours to accommodate shift work.