Editorial: Gunnedah’s childcare shortage continues

Gunnedah Family and Children’s Services chair Rebecca Ryan hit the nail on the head when she said Gunnedah has outstanding childcare services in place, however a population shift has put pressure on those existing facilities.

It’s a quantity not quality issue.

It is obvious a need for more childcare is paramount.

Li’l Achievers, the newest facility on the block, is more than tripling in size with hopes to combat the 70-name long wait list.

But Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey says it may meet demand for an interim with Gunnedah forecast to keep on growing. 

He said childcare was not an avenue council would go down but they would support and work with private industry and not-for-profit organisations to provide services.

It is great to see our wonderful community growing, with new families and people arriving all the time, but the facilities need to match it.

Parents are taking to social media daily in search of childcare options.

People are posting to Facebook before they even move to town – asking what the chances of securing daycare are like.

Join the queue.

Some centres are declaring up to a two-year wait for care.

Parents are putting off returning to work, quitting their jobs or seeking other options, including au pairs or nanny and babysitting services.

Single parents, shift workers and those without family support in the area are struggling.

The other issue Gunnedah parents are currently facing is a lack of school holiday care.

School kids have approximately 13 weeks of holidays a year, yet the average employee only has four.

How do we bridge that gap?

Some parents use Sherpa Kids, some use family day care positions and others relied on the PCYC program when it was in action.

And others are required to take leave without pay or rely on friends and family to mind their children for weeks on end.

Gunnedah Family Day Care and Coastwide Family Day Care are calling out for more educators to join their services, which can help alleviate both issues to a degree.

Those with a passion for childcare need to jump on the bandwagon. 

Gunnedah needs you.


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