After 35 years of operation, the Narromine Shire Council have shut the doors of the Macquarie Valley Family Day Care (MVFDC) Scheme due to funding cuts.
The council have resolved the service will terminate from January 1, 2018, the Family Day Care staff employment will continue until all finalisation and compliance issues are complete and any funds left in the reserves will be reported to the council at the March Quarterly Budget Review for a decision of how to use the funds, it has been suggested these funds should be retained for youth services.
Deputy Mayor Dawn Collins and Cr Les Lambert moved the recommendation and it was carried.
The primary reason behind the closure is the Federal Government have terminated the Community Support Program funding from July 1, 2018.
With government funding with carer and community support funding meant the project was cost neutral for council and ratepayers.
Shire general manager Jane Redden reported if the council was to continue the service without the funding “budget projections show a loss of approximately $185,000 for the year.”
“Lobbying has been undertaken on several occasions with the local Federal Member regarding the loss of Community Support Funding and his response was that the council would be eligible to apply for the new Child Care grants under the new Community Child Care Fund.
“However this ‘replacement’ grant opportunity has three different streams and the only one council could apply for would be the ‘sustainability’ grant [with a] maximum amount of $25,000. This would not help us balance the budget when we require $150,000.”
Mrs Redden also reported there is the availability of a day care service in the shire.
“Whilst it is sad that the MVFDC scheme will close after operating for some 35 years in the Shire, the availability of a Family Day Care Service in the Shire will continue with another Approved Provider so long as the local educators wish to continue providing the service to the community,” she reported.
The council have also resolved to help the educators find new providers.
“[The] council has made contact with a neighbouring council who has a larger Family Day Care Service and it may be possible for some of the educator to transition to that scheme,” Mrs Redden said.
“It will be a matter of Educators seeing who is available and what they have to offer. Council staff will assist them with this.”