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Timing: When to Start Looking

Many child care centers have waiting lists for interested families, so you should begin your search well in advance of the time you will need care. Infant and toddler care can be especially difficult to find due to high demand and small group sizes, so you may need to begin your search for infant care as soon as you know what your needs will be.

For center-based care, try to visit several centers before you anticipate needing care. To find out about the availability of care in your area, call or email us at (250) 762-3536 or mailto:[email protected]

Many family child care providers do not have a waiting list and fill openings as they arise so it is a good idea to start your visits four to six months before you need care. Depending on availability, you might have to wait longer than you had planned so having a back-up child care arrangement to cover you until a space becomes available is important.

Here are some questions to consider and ask during your visit:

  • Does the center have a waiting list?
  • How many children are on the waiting list for your child's age group?
  • How often is the list updated?
  • Many centres prefer full-time children. If you are looking for part-time space ask them what your chances are of moving up on the wait list.
  • How does the enrollment process work?
  • Is there an application fee for getting on the waiting list?
  • If you are considering a family child care home, will the provider keep in touch with you as openings occur?

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