Better access to childcare needed

RURAL CARE: Pippa White (3), early childhood educator Leanne Butler, and twins Zarli and Hazel Trenberth (2) at Rural Care in Tumby Bay.
RURAL CARE: Pippa White (3), early childhood educator Leanne Butler, and twins Zarli and Hazel Trenberth (2) at Rural Care in Tumby Bay.

The Tumby Bay Rural Care cannot keep up with the demand for services and director Ginny McTaggart says the council needs to do more to assist with family/home day care services.

"We have a two-worker program five days a week with 14 children in long day care," Ms McTaggart said.

She said the waiting list for the centre was 18 months to two years, and more than half the children on the waiting list were under three, requiring a higher worker-to-child ratio.

She said while Rural Care, which operated in the same centre as the kindergarten, was looking to expand its outdoor space, this would not allow the centre to cater for more children.

"A long-term option is getting more family day care operators," Ms McTaggart said.

She said the Tumby Bay District Council needed to step in and allocate funding for family day care operators to set up to standard, which was costly.

Local parent Ricky Trenberth said his family was fortunate to have care but this was not the case for the majority in the district.

"The shortage is creating an unfair situation where many families are unable to plan for the future as they have no way of knowing if they will ever be able to return to work," he said.

"I don't think that this situation would be acceptable in the city however for some reason we're expected to put up with it in the country.

"I'm told that historically we had four family daycare providers in the area...I think the obvious solution would be to expand the facility we have right now or encourage other operators to set up in the area, be it family day care or otherwise."