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Council Kids Child Minding for Council Meetings
Location: North Vancouver, Canada
Organization: City of North Vancouver
The City of North Vancouver provides free child-minding for parents attending Council meetings.
About the Wise Practice
The City of North Vancouver has contracted North Shore Neighbourhood House to provide 2 hours of free child-minding for parents attending Council meetings, for children 18 months to 12 years. Councilor Jessica McIlroy proposed a motion in June 10, 2019 after hearing that finding childcare services is a barrier to coming to council. Council approved a six month pilot starting February 24, 2020. Parents can 1) bring their children to the atrium community room at City Hall; or 2) request a $40 subsidy for at-home childcare. Staff from the Planning and Development, Strategic and Corporate Services, Community and Partner Engagement, and Finance departments are jointly responsible for implementation. North Shore Neighbourhood House will provide 1 manager and 2 staff; set up security protocols; and plan activities. The City will purchase and store suitable multi-age toys and equipment. Both program options are intended for citizens attending council, not employees or Council members.
The City of North Vancouver’s reports in their Council agenda packages in June and October 2019 note that other cities also providing this child minding service during Council include the City of Brampton, Ontario; the City of London, Ontario; and the City of Victoria, BC. These could be pursued as separate Wise Practices to compare their efficacy.
The City of North Vancouver gathered advice when researching the program from the North Shore Child Care Planning Table and Vancouver Coastal Health Child Care Licensing.
- Goal 1: Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate (SDG 5.4).
- Goal 2: Encourage the provision of the necessary supporting social services to enable parents to combine family obligations with work responsibilities and participation in public life, in particular through promoting the establishment and development of a network of child-care facilities (CEDAW article 11.2c).
The City has reported no measurements for the Council Kids pilot project but has indicated that the program will be evaluated at the end of the 6 month trial period, by the City and the selected non-profit operator. Current capacity is designed for 12 child capacity, but could be expanded if demand requires.
The Council Kids practice is in line with the City’s Strategic Plan’s commitment to “being engaged by listening and involving all residents, from our youngest citizens to our seniors, and embracing new methods to engage them in civic life” (pg 3).
The Council Kids practice is in line with the City’s Official Community Plan’s Objective 3.1.1 and 3.1.4, pg 50.
The City 2020-2029 Project Plan also includes budget projections for the Child Minding for Council Meetings program of $25k per year, as per the Dec 2 2019 Council Meeting Agenda, which indicates that it is anticipated to be adopted beyond the 6 month pilot.
The City of North Vancouver has reported no specific monitoring practices for the Council Kids child minding during Council pilot project but has indicated that the program will be evaluated at the end of the 6 month trial period, by the City and the selected non-profit operator.
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