By Laura Keil
Valemount Childrens’ Activity Society President Krista Voth says the Board of Directors apologizes for two dismissal letters sent last week that “jumped the gun.”
“We’re trying our best to figure this all out. We’re all new to it too. We’re trying to work with the families and, yeah, we jumped the gun, and we apologize for that.”
Letters were sent to two families with a child at the Centre saying the family would no longer be offered care by the Society, a publicly-funded non-profit offering subsidized daycare and preschool.
The Goat was provided a copy of the letter that was emailed to Stefanie and Jin Han. The two-sentence letter on official Society letterhead, addressed to “the Han Family,” said “Please be advised that the VCAS has chosen to no longer continue to offer care to your family as we do not believe that it is currently in the best interest of both parties to continue. This will be effective immediately.” The letter was signed “VCAS” (Valemount Childrens’ Activity Society) and sent from the Society email.
Voth says the letter was backed by the Board of Directors.
“We sent it because of things she had said in a board meeting,” Voth said, referring to Stefanie Han. “The staff didn’t feel comfortable because they felt threatened that she was going to go and say something to Licensing. They were worried about their credibility and their jobs.”
“Once we talked to Stefanie, she kind of explained that she had no issues with staff and that her issues mainly arise with me being Chair. She agreed to give us time to talk to a lawyer about all that.”
In a written response to the board, which Han copied to the Goat, Han said she has never complained to Licensing about the Centre. The Centre is licensed and administered through Northern Health.
She says if staff and directors had held a meeting with her family prior to the decision, she would have told them her only issue pertains to the conflict of interest around Voth being a staff member and the board’s chairperson.
Voth was voted in as Chair at the annual general meeting in October and is currently on maternity leave from her job at the Centre. Several board members have voiced their concern about a conflict of interest, as the board is Voth’s employer. At the annual general meeting Voth said she would step out for anything pertaining to employees. Voth took over the role of Chair from Han, who stepped down this fall after two years as Chair.
Han says her 4-year-old son has been enrolled at the Centre for three years already and currently attends daycare and preschool. She says he has never complained about the staff and the Centre has never cited problems about Jayden.
“I do not have any issues with staff or how they treat my child. I have heard only positive things from my son about staff, and he loves all staff he is in contact with. As far as I know and have been told by staff, Jayden behaves well and is a big helper.”
“I would like to know why my child is being punished by being kicked out of the center because of MY issue with this board.”
Han’s son Jayden has been allowed back in the Centre after Han arranged a meeting with the Board last week. Han declined an interview following the meeting, citing a promise to the board.
Voth says they “talked it out” with Han and came to an agreement.
“Everybody felt better by the end.”
When asked about the second family that was sent the dismissal letter, Voth noted they had removed their child from the daycare.
The Valemount Childrens’ Activity Society provides the only licensed childcare facility in the Valemount area.
Voth says they hope to add two new members to the board at their next meeting. Currently the board consists of Amanda Gunderson, Heather Funk, Kristina Hulkovich, Jackilyn Lussier, and Krista Voth.
“A board’s a board. When it’s all volunteer and parent-run, there’s going to be issues,” says Voth.
She adds they are doing their best to provide a good service to parents.
“We’re here for the community and all the staff is amazing.”