It won’t take a newcomer to Bowen Island long to discover that, at the heart of this vibrant community, children are its heartbeat. This is a place where the mantra that “it takes a village to raise a child” rings true and parents and community members have always, in true Bowen style, found innovative ways to support one another in the care and raising of our most valuable island resource.
Perhaps it is this sense of community that draws so many families to our little island. Census data from 2006 to 2016 indicates that the number of children living on our island has increased by nearly 20 per cent over a 10-year period, while the number of single and two caregiver families has increased by 15 per cent since 2011.
With growing numbers of families on Bowen Island comes a growing need for child care. The challenge to meet this demand has prompted the municipality to apply for a grant to study this need, understand the current challenges and create short and long-term plans to guide future decisions. With this in mind, a robust child care needs assessment is set to begin in September. With your input, we are hoping to learn more about fulltime and after school child care needs for all children from birth to 12 years of age and our community’s current capacity to meet those needs. The study will include a comprehensive survey to gather data to explore how families are currently meeting their child care needs and how they would like to see services develop into the future. In addition to the survey, parents and caregivers will have opportunities to provide in-person feedback at several face-to-face sessions in the community throughout the month of October. The combined information, once gathered, will be used to formulate a community specific action plan that will outline short, medium and long-term goals to help inform future decisions regarding child care in our community.
The child care needs assessment survey can be completed at surveymonkey.com/r/bowenchildcare
Watch the Bowen Island Municipality Facebook page for more information about locations for face to face sessions.