100 families seek care in Monash region as FDC scheme closes
Around 100 families are seeking early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the Monash region of Victoria after the City of Monash’s decision to close a council-run family day care (FDC) scheme due to financial loss.
The decision follows a 2015 review of FDC by the council, prompted by a “steady decline” in the use of the service. As part of the review, Monash Mayor Shane McCluskey outlined, the Council resolved to continue with the service provided it be cost-neutral with no additional cost to Monash ratepayers. The Council also determined that if there was a cost, the service would be reviewed again.
“Unfortunately, keeping the service cost neutral has not been achievable. Despite a number of promotional activities over the past three years to boost usage, numbers have continued to fall with a reduction in families using the service and a drop in the number of educators providing care,” Mayor McCluskey said.
Describing the decision to cease operations as “difficult”, the Mayor said the Council could no longer absorb the charges accrued in operating the service.
He was, however, quick to point out that the Council’s decision does not spell the end of FDC for the area, saying “There are other providers who offer this service if families choose to continue to use it, and families can still stay with their current educator if they both move to the same provider.”
Educators and families will be supported to navigate the change by way of a six-month ‘buffer’, with the scheme to close 31 January 2020. In the lead up to the closure, City of Monash officials will “work closely with our educators to assist them in making the transfer to a new operator of their choice”.
All families using the service have been advised of the Council’s decision and Council staff will meet with them to provide further information about the services available to them in Monash. Educators have also been provided information and support, and the Council is also talking to them about alternative providers they can transition to.
“Whilst it is inevitable, given the fall in numbers, that the service could not continue, this does not take away from the outstanding service provided to the community by our Educators and the quality of their care to families in Monash,” Mayor McCluskey said, extending thanks on behalf of the Council for the educators dedication, professionalism and service.
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