Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria (left); Jane Taylor Lee, executive director, Family Services of Greater Victoria; and David Lau, executive director, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, stand in front of the Little Phoenix Daycare construction site. (Courtesy of United Way Greater Victoria)

Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria (left); Jane Taylor Lee, executive director, Family Services of Greater Victoria; and David Lau, executive director, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, stand in front of the Little Phoenix Daycare construction site. (Courtesy of United Way Greater Victoria)

United Way fundraising to complete construction on Phoenix Daycare

Victoria trauma-informed daycare could change community, says Family Services

A daycare under construction in Victoria is the first of its kind in Canada.

The trauma-informed Little Phoenix Daycare in Victoria’s North Park neighbourhood will provide safety, belonging and informed care for children under the age of five who have experienced high levels of stress and trauma, including immigrant and refugee children.

The facility, planned by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) in partnership with Family Services of Greater Victoria (FSGV), was designed entirely through a lens of trauma-informed childcare – from lighting and colours to textures and sounds.

Parents, guardians and families will participate in the daycare program, explains Jane Taylor Lee, FSGV executive director.

“We know from a clinical perspective and a research perspective that we really need to work with as many family members as we can in order to create healing … recovery and lasting change,” she said. “And the overall benefit is not just to the individual child, their parents and immediate family … but also eventually to the broader community.”

READ ALSO: Child abuse victims may carry ‘molecular scars’ for life: UBC, Harvard study

Along with care for children who have experienced trauma like family violence, sexual, psychological, physical and emotional abuse, the daycare will also provide care for children who haven’t experienced trauma.

“Each child will be unique and bring with them a unique set of circumstances,” Lee says. “We want to be able to combine the children into an environment where they learn from one another.”

In a media release, United Way Greater Victoria (UWGV) – which teamed up with FSGV and VIRCS to fundraise for the the project – says the facility will be staffed with trauma counsellors, art therapists and other childhood experts, all geared to supporting children in a peaceful, therapeutic setting. Families will also be connected to resources.

Early intervention is key, Lee notes.

“We know that children who don’t get an intervention, according to research, are much more likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol, have incidents of depression and anxiety, have difficulty with peer relationships, intimate relationships, those kinds of things,” she says.

“Exposure to trauma changes brain chemistry. The earlier you can intervene, the better the chance the child has to learn how to adapt, how to thrive, how to cope, how to regulate.”

The concept and design of the daycare is informed by a research project with the University of Victoria that not only mines existing evidence, but will generate new knowledge on trauma-informed childcare – research geared to inform future daycares of the same kind. The facility will also become a practicum site for UVic education students specializing in early years.

Families will need to be eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit in order to enrol their children.

UWGV, along with FSGV and the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Society, is raising funds to complete the daycare, including construction, furniture and supplies such as books and decor. Donations can be made online at uwgv.ca.

READ ALSO: Victoria lacks more than 4,200 child care spaces within city: report


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

DaycareImmigrant childrenVictoriaYouth protection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shea Smith is one of three creators of The Homeless Idea podcast. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Victoria podcasters talks homelessness first-hand

Three homeless Victoria residents created The Homeless Idea to give themselves a voice

(Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Second driver facing impaired charges after View Royal traffic stop leads to loaded firearms

West Shore RCMP stop swerving motorist and Saanich woman who came to pick her up

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

Teagan Hunt (Grade 12) and Aiden Grew (Grade 11) are the 2020 winners of Lambrick Park’s annual Queen & King of the Hill demanding race up Mount Doug’s Churchill Drive. (Photo courtesy of Tom Turnbull)
Lambrick King of the Hill wins Cedar Hill time trial

Aiden Grew sets course record for gruelling King of the Hill run

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Most Read