Saanich parent pays $1,100 to hold daycare spot only to find it doesn’t exist

Saanich parent pays $1,100 to hold daycare spot only to find it doesn't exist
Sarah Fennell says she paid a deposit to a daycare operator before realising it was not licenced to operate.

After paying deposits for daycare spots in Saanich that don’t actually exist, several parents are speaking out.

Sarah Fennell was struggling to find daycare, like many parents.

“I’ve been looking for a year and a half for Austin since I was six months pregnant. So I’ve been on waitlists,” Fennell said.

So when she finally found a daycare in Saanich with an available spot, she was thrilled.

But after paying $1,100 to reserve the spot, that’s when she started asking questions, and she found out operator Jaylene Hawkins didn’t have a license to operate a daycare with more than two non-related children.

“I decided to confront her, and I said, ‘Jaylene the ruse is up. I know you registered way more kids than you are allowed to. I know that you are telling people different stories,'” Fennell said.

Fennell said Hawkins refused to refund her money.

And she’s not alone.

Last week, Saanich resident Ashley Vantrite claims that she paid Hawkins $600 to secure two spots for her twins.

“Something was just kind of off. Like we paid two months in advance,” Vantrite said.

Several parents have approached CHEK News alleging Hawkins has registered as many as a dozen children at the daycare at the same time.

Now Saanich Police Const. Markus Asastasiades confirmed they are investigating.

“I can tell you that the investigation is ongoing. And that we are looking into complaints received, meaning more than just one,” Asastasiades said.

We tried to reach Hawkins at the house where she runs the daycare. But after knocking on her door, there was no answer.

Saanich police officers did arrive after a call from Hawkins, but she still refused to answer our questions.

Island Health says it investigated the daycare and says she is not a licenced care provider.

The Community Care and Assisted Living Act defines community care facilities as a person providing care to three or more people who are not related by blood or marriage to the person providing care.

“Upon receiving a complaint, Island Health investigated and confirmed this person was operating in contravention of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act,” Island Health said. “The operator is to immediately cease providing, or holding themselves out as providing, care to more than two children not related to them by blood or marriage.”

Island Health said it will continue to monitor the situation, but parents remain in limbo with no answers.

WATCH: Fee caps make opening a daycare ‘impossible’ in Greater Victoria, say providers

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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