‘Trauma-informed’ daycare for refugee children among new child-care projects

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The new child-care spaces were announced Monday. (Radio-Canada)

A new daycare that incorporates trauma counselling for immigrant and refugee children in Victoria is among projects that will receive a share of $33 million in funding for new licensed child care spaces in British Columbia.

The Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society’s planned daycare for 28 infants and children, in partnership with Family Services of Victoria, is among the projects eligible for provincial funding to create 948 new child-care spaces in Victoria and Vancouver Island communities stretching from Ucluelet to Campbell River.

David Lau, executive director of VIRCS, told All Points West host Jason D’Souza the need for child care, especially for infants, is so acute that the centre started receiving wait-list requests even before daycare plans were formally announced for the building it purchased in June.

With help from the $371,173 in provincial funding, Lau said, “we’re hoping to build a trauma-informed daycare service.”

He said it is a model that was developed in Australia, although he is not aware of a similar daycare in Canada.

“With the sorts of kids that go through our centre and also Family Services of Greater Victoria, we do have some kids who go through and they could definitely use some help,” he said.

VIRCS already operates programs for older children and youth including an adjustment support group for ages six to 11 to help immigrant and refugee children overcome challenges such as grief, separation from family members, isolation and traumatic experiences.

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