The origins of both Cari’s Infant and Toddler Centre and Forest Circle Child Care go back to Campbell River’s first integrated child care services in the early 1960’s. A small group of parents of children with special needs pulled together a program to offer early childhood education in the community as an alternative to institutionalized care elsewhere. This endeavor evolved into Peter Pan Preschool managed by the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living (CRADACL) and located in downtown Campbell River.
In the late 1980’s School District 72 and the Rotary Club of Campbell River responded to the needs of teenaged parents to have a child care program that would allow them to continue their education. By January of 1992 Cari’s Infant and Toddler Centre was up and running at Carihi Secondary as part of the Campbell River Young Parents’ Program, with 12 infant and 12 toddler spaces administered by CRADACL.
North Island College approached CRADACL in the late 90’s with the idea of a campus based child care facility at their new combined high school and community college. In 2002 Forest Circle Child Care opened to include infant and toddler care as well as a three-five program, totaling 40 spaces, and the Peter Pan location closed.
In September 2003, CRADACL announced their decision to get out of the child care business and gave the staff and management 8 weeks’ notice. Within those 8 weeks and with the help of friends and community supporters, we were able to create a new non-profit society with a volunteer board of directors. Staff from Cari’s and Forest Circle were rehired, leases were renewed and no interruption of service was experienced. Proudly, Forest Circle Society for Families was incorporated under the Society Act on November 6th, 2003!
Within two years, Forest Circle Society for Families (FCSFF) was well established with a new collective agreement and a healthy contingency fund, while providing quality early care and learning programs. As an employer of over 30 staff, FCSFF is a leader in the child care community as advocates for families, children and the field of early care and learning.