Cobar families struggle as the town’s only LDC service closes abruptly
The unexpected departure of a number of early childhood education and care (ECEC) staff in the western New South Wales town of Cobar has caused the town’s only long day care (LDC) service to close with little notice, leaving the 40 families who rely on the service in a difficult situation, the ABC has reported.
Kubby House Child Care closed earlier this week after a number of educators and an executive staff member left, the ABC said, leaving parents scrambling to fill the void as the centre remains closed due to not having enough staff to meet the required ratios.
Given the small size of the town, with a population of around 4,000 people and a reliance on mining to support the local economy, the departure of the educators has had a roll on effect, with the bulk of parents who used the service needing to take leave from their roles in order to care for and supervise their children.
The centre will remain closed while its volunteer management committee works to find qualified staff.
In recent weeks, as staff numbers dwindled, parents were encouraged to keep their children at home, which is adding further pressure to leave allowances. In order to re-open, the service needs to hire five permanent staff.
Local mining companies, the ABC said, are keen to have their employees back on deck, and have offered support in finding workers with Certificate III or Diploma level qualifications. The management committee is also working with a recruitment agency to fill the vacancies.
The town, approximately 700 km north from Sydney, and 300 km west of Dubbo, has struggled to attract and retain educators in the past, as the salaries and conditions on offer in the mining sector are quite competitive.
“It’s a hard time of year to find staff willing to relocate because it’s so close to Christmas,” Kubby’s management committee president Bonnie Fullagar told the ABC.
“We are in a crisis. We just don’t know what the future holds.”
To read the original coverage of this story, please see here.