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

Paul Nestman’s Exemplary Service Award, which will be presented to him on Oct. 27 by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin during a virtual ceremony. (Provided by Tammy Robinson)
‘Trust your team’: Victoria man receives Exemplary Service Award from Coast Guard

Paul Nestman, along with 36 others, receive awards during virtual ceremony

The ‘fall back’ time change Nov.1 means earlier sunrises – and sunsets – for British Columbians. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Clocks ‘fall back’ for B.C. residents on Nov. 1

Daylight Saving Time ends, B.C. still working on permanent switch to ‘spring ahead’ time

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read