Tri-City parents are being surveyed to identify the key issues about care for children from birth to eight years of age.
Avenues of Change is launching an online survey today that will be open until March 29 to reach as many parents as possible.
"The more parents that do it, the more valid the results will be," Darcel Moro, a spokesperson for the program, told the board of education last week.
The United-Way funded program to support families along the Coquitlam River decided to to the survey when daycare arose as a top concern.
"Poverty, safety and lack of age-appropriate child care spaces" were on the list of issues parents raised, Moro said, but instead of limiting the geographical area, the survey will examine the daycare needs for all of the Tri-Cities.
Moro said finding appropriate, affordable daycare has been a struggle for many parents in the Tri-Cities and some have gone as far as going door-to-door looking for care. "It's not babysitting [they are looking for]," she said, "it's actual child care."
The survey will gather data about family child care needs and the data will be shared with local agencies.
A survey for child care providers is also being considered, she added.
Among the issues that have been raised by parents in the Tri-Cities in recent years has been the need for care when parents don't work 9 to 5, finding care for children with special needs and finding part-time care at rates that are affordable.
From a caregiver's perspective, the challenge is how to meet the specific needs of parents at affordable rates while also paying salaries, rent in some cases, as well as equipment; and for people who do in-home care, the challenges of earning a living wage.