Closure looms for daycare operators


Uncertain future: Jumping Jellybeans family daycare educator Rebecca McCormick (second from right) is concerned about the federal government's new Community Support Program. "There's a good possibility we will close," she said. Picture: Gary Warrick

Uncertain future: Jumping Jellybeans family daycare educator Rebecca McCormick (second from right) is concerned about the federal government's new Community Support Program. "There's a good possibility we will close," she said. Picture: Gary Warrick

THE threat of funding cuts is no child's play for family daycare operators.

Nine family daycare schemes in St Marys and Mount Druitt will fail to meet the funding criteria from mid-next year, according to Family Day Care Australia preliminary research.

It follows last week's launch of the federal government's Community Support Program eligibility self-assessment tool to help family daycare services understand the criteria and determine whether they will be funded next financial year.

The number of schemes in the area means it will be difficult for them to get renewed funding next year, which could leave 1500 children in St Marys and Mount Druitt without childcare.

One scheme, All Areas Family Day Care, has 17 educators in the area.

"The funding we get from the government trains, monitors and supports educators so they follow regulations," co-director Amany Mikhail said. "To continue operating, we would have to put up fees, which would be out of reach for many parents. We will be left with no option but to close. It doesn't just affect families in family daycare. There's already a childcare shortage in this area. We have educators who provide care 24/7 for shift workers, including hospital staff and police."

Rebecca McCormick's experience of the childcare system with her son inspired her to become a family daycare educator in Mount Druitt.

She looks after 11 children a week and another during school holidays.

"I'm afraid it will force educators to close and leave many families out of childcare," she said. "Some kids can't deal with the atmosphere of a long daycare centre. I have four kids here each day. They get one-on-one attention and I know the ins and outs of what's happening with them."

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