Child Care Options

In British Columbia, parents have a number of child care options based on their individual preferences and needs. Sometimes parents choose to employ a care provider in their own home. This type of care provider is referred to as a nanny, an au pair, or a child minder. When parents choose a child care setting outside of the home, there are a number of choices, based on the number of children in care and the type of program desired.

License-not-Required: This child care option is legal in the Province of British Columbia. The care provider is permitted to care for two children, non-related by blood or marriage, in their own home. The Child Care Resource and Referral Programs throughout the province can assist these types of settings to become Registered License-not-Required child care providers. There are registration requirements to be met, such as a clear criminal record check, health reference, valid first aid training, and a commitment to complete Family Child Care Training.

Licensed Family Child Care: This child care option requires a license to operate under the Community Care Facilities Licensing office for your geographical area. The care provider is permitted to care for a maximum of seven (7) children, who can range from birth to 12 years of age. The provider's children need to be included in the ratios for care. Licensed Family Child Care providers are required to complete a course or combination of courses equivalent to 20 hours of training pertaining to the care of children. For further information about the licensing requirements for the South Vancouver Island region (Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, S. Gulf Islands, Colwood, Langford, and Sooke) please contact Island Health.

Group Child Care: This child care option involves a number of staff caring for groups of children of a specific age group. There are infant and toddler centres who care for babies from birth to 36 months. There are child care centres that care for children from 30 months to school entry. In these settings children would typically be grouped according to age (for example, the children who are between three and five years of age would be together in the same group). And finally, out-of-school care centres provide care for children before and after school hours and for summer breaks.

Within this option there is also a new category called Multi-Age Care, which would allow a mix of children between birth and 12 years of age. This is similar to the Danish model of "family groupings" where siblings could remain together in the same group, although they may be a number of years apart in age. Please contact the Island Health if you have any questions.

Preschool: This final option for care is for families wanting a part day program for their child. Preschools serve children from 30 months of age to school entry. They can operate to a maximum of four hours per day and typically close for the summer months.