Limited places for childcare

Childcare places are scarce in Colac and district.

CHILDCARE places are limited in Colac and district childcare centres.

The Cubby House at Colac owner Marcus Finch said there were spaces across the centre’s three age groups; the nursery, toddlers and pre-kinder.

“So there are days available that would suit most parents in all groups at this early stage in the year,” he said.

“Things tighten up as everybody gets back to the school-work routine however.”

Camperdown’s Banana Splits Childcare Centre director Karen Vaughan there were a “few vacancies” at the centre.

She said a change in a carer-to-child ratio for children under three years old from one-to-five to one-to-four had affected places at the centre.

“It’s more that we lost numbers due to the new ratios – dropped down four children a day, 20 children a week,” she said.

“It was either drop down numbers or put on more staff, but it’s hard to put on more staff when there’s no qualified staff out there.”

Colac Otway Shire Council health and community services manager Greg Fletcher said there were 11 family day-care educators who looked after about 200 preschool and school-aged children in the shire.

“Family day-care services are at capacity at the moment, and there is a waiting list of families wanting to use the service,” he said.

“Council is always looking for more family day-care educators, and welcomes inquiries.”

The Corangamite Shire Council looks after selected family day-care services in the Corangamite and Colac Otway shires.

Family day care co-ordinator Christine Dewhurst said educators at Birregurra, Cororooke and Forrest provided care in their own homes and at the Forrest Primary School.

“We do have limited vacancies, but we often can’t meet families’ needs because the families need days that we don’t have vacancies on,” she said.

“We’re always looking to recruit more educators for venue or home care.”

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