Organizers of a Central Okanagan regional child care survey are encouraging parents and caregivers to submit their feedback before Friday.
The Care For Our Kids survey is assessing needs to help the government facilitate better child care in future, in partnership with Lake Country, Okanagan Indian Band, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Peachland.
The province has provided funding for new spaces, but needs community input to make the right decisions, says Childhood Connections executive director Melissa Hunt.
"We have the government funding for new spaces, and we're wanting to find out from parents and caregivers where the best spaces are to build this. We want to know where the gaps are, and find out where parents want these spaces."
Hunt, who is part of the steering committee for the research project, says it's not enough to assume parents or caregivers want child care spaces near their home.
"If parents or caregivers are driving from Lake Country into Kelowna every day for work, it is possible they will find it more convenient to have a new facility in Kelowna to suit their work schedule, or vice versa."
One of the biggest challenges in the industry is the recruitment and retention of staff, she says.
"The government has provided a lot of different initiatives, but for our community, what we're struggling to provide is staff to manage these spaces. We're working on making this a viable industry."
Hunt believes the main reasons for the staffing issues are low wages combined with high student debt and the natural turnover that comes with staff taking maternity leave in a female-dominated industry.
The survey takes about 15 minutes, and there is a prize draw incentive. To complete the survey, click here.