Surf Coast the latest council to jettison Family Day Care provision
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Surf Coast the latest council to jettison Family Day Care provision

by Freya Lucas

March 17, 2023

Victoria’s Surf Coast Shire Council is the latest Council to announce that it will no longer be offering family day care (FDC) provision from 2024 citing the increasing cost to ratepayers to run the service, difficulty in attracting and retaining educators, and an increase in other privately-run FDC options available.


There are currently six FDC services operating under the Council umbrella, with a spokesperson confirming the Council will work closely with both educators and families to ensure they are supported in transitioning to local privately-run service providers.


“We will work with educators and families to find out their individual plans and help with the transition to local privately-run operators before the end of the year,” Mayor Liz Pattison said.


“We want to ensure the transition process is as smooth as possible for our educators and families, so that their current care arrangements can continue.”


Council’s decision to no longer operate a FDC management service from 1 January 2024 follows an independent review of Council’s early years services in 2016.  


The review, which involved extensive community consultation, found that Council would need to maintain at least 15 educators in order for the service to continue operating. This finding was reinforced in a more recent service review received by Council in early 2022.


“In previous years we haven’t always had private providers to run FDC services across our shire,” the Mayor continued. “This has now changed and therefore there should be little change to the services that families can receive as they transition over to new providers.”


“As a mum of four young children I know how important it is to families to have solid day care arrangements in place, so our priority here will be ensuring that the shift is as seamless as possible for everyone.”


The number of FDC educators supported by the Council has been in decline, dropping from 16 educators in 2019 to now only having six. 


“We thank all of our educators who have provided quality care over the years and our families that have used the service,” the Mayor said, emphasising that there were no changes to Council’s other early years services.


“We will continue to operate all of our other early years services, including kindergarten and occasional care, as normal,” she added.

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