Sutherland Shire may axe Family Day Care after more than 40 years of operation
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Sutherland Shire may axe Family Day Care after more than 40 years of operation

Sutherland Shire may axe Family Day Care after more than 40 years of operation

by Freya Lucas

October 19, 2022

Sutherland Shire Council has announced that it will likely no longer offer family day care (FDC) as part of its suite of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, with a final decision due to be made at the end of the month during a Council meeting. 


A staff report regarding the Council’s provision of FDC noted the number of changes that have occurred in the sector over several years, moving FDC from a subsidised model to a commercial enterprise which could be delivered without council involvement. 


The number of educators in the council scheme has gradually dropped from 70 in the 1990s, and parents currently using the scheme have been advised that the scheme will cease from 30 June 2023, allowing FDC operators working under the Council scheme to transition to a privately operated scheme. 


At present, the Council’s FDC scheme has 16 educators, catering for 112 families and a total of 127 children. The council’s 11 early education centres are not affected by the impending closure.


FDC parent Jeremy Wilson told local paper St George and Sutherland Shire Leader that he and his wife would be “heartbroken” if their FDC service was to close because of the Council’s withdrawal.


Mr Wilson’s eldest son has enjoyed his FDC experience, and youngest son Noah was due to start in mid-2023. 


“All other FDC services nearby are full, as are most of the larger centrestoo,” he said.


“It’s really stressing us out. If Council had consulted with educators before making this proposal to see if all were happy to make the switch this might have been avoided. We are not the only family in this situation.”


The Wilsons made a submission to the Council in relation to the decision, saying that several of the educators in the Council scheme felt blindsided by the announcement and were considering whether to resign, retrain or retire.


Another submission to the Council said there had been “no meaningful engagement with the broader community, parents and educators” on the impact.


“The proposal appears to privatise the existing service and at this stage the educators themselves have not been engaged and Council does not know if they will be able to, or want to, continue under a non-council based scheme,” the submission said.


“Therefore this proposal has a real likelihood of reducing existing, highly in demand, childcare spaces in the Sutherland Shire LGA.”


To read the local coverage of this story, please see here

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button