The SFU Childcare Society presently operates eleven programs that are collectively known as the Children's Centre. The Children's Centre is an independent, legally incorporated non-profit society with registered charitable organization status. The Children's Centre provides full and part time care to approximately 240 children, ranging in age from 3 months to 12 years. Each program has its own physical space and is often referred to as a centre. A Board of Directors is composed of parent representatives, university representatives, childcare staff representatives and community representatives. The Executive Director is an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board, hired through the University (with direction from the Society Board) to be the Coordinator for the Society and to act as a liaison between the Society and the University.
Daycare began at SFU in 1968 when a group of parents established the Simon Fraser Co-operative Family in a student lounge. By 1973, the Family Co-op had grown into the SFU Day Care Society with three units in different locations. By 1976, there were five licensed daycare centres all incorporated under the Burnaby Mountain Day Care Society.
In 1976 the University provided 1.2 million dollars to fund construction of a childcare complex, the first of its kind in Canada. The University also supported the appointment of a full-time director, Emily Campbell. For funding purposes, the Burnaby Mountain Day Care Society separated into five non-profit societies, which could each apply for grants. The five societies and their nine centres formed a loose federation, The Burnaby Association of University Child Care Societies, to set overall policy, coordinate activities, and exchange information. Centres remained autonomous in financing, staffing, and style of care.
In 1981 it became evident that current levels of University funding were in jeopardy. A Task Force was struck by the University to investigate the current organization of childcare on campus. Following recommendations of that Task Force, the five individual daycare societies were reorganized in 1982 into a single non-profit society, The SFU Childcare Society, which continues today.
The SFU Childcare Society is funded primarily through parent user fees and Board fund raising efforts. These monies are used for staff salaries and benefits, program related expenses, equipment purchase and upkeep, playgrounds, administrative costs and utilities.
A Licensing Agreement with the University provides for repairs and maintenance service for all the major building structures, comprehensive insurance, and the salary and benefits for the Executive Director and secretarial positions.