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Childcare hopes

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council will negotiate with YMCA Ballarat as the preferred provider of St Andrews Childcare Centre in Mirboo North.
This comes after UnitingCare announced its decision to withdraw childcare services in South Gippsland from the end of February.
The YCMA is yet to confirm such an involvement.
The Mirboo North centre will not be run by a community committee of management.
An expression of interest process was advertised by council in November, seeking alternate licenced providers to operate St Andrews and the Prom Coast Centre for Children in Foster.
The selection panel unanimously agreed the YMCA Ballarat had the necessary experience. The YMCA now runs the Mirboo North kindergarten.
“I think it is excellent news and I think the YMCA has the potential to create an integrated service which is a great thing for our town,” parent Alison Taylor said.
Ms Taylor said families relying on childcare were relieved.
The YMCA has operated the Mirboo North kindergarten service next to the childcare centre for some years.
“I think they (YMCA) do a great job already at the kinder and I think they will do a good job at the childcare too,” Ms Taylor said.
“The services were built together to ultimately end up under the same provider and that has finally happened, so it can only be a good thing for the community.”
Council’s director of community services Jan Martin said the YMCA was well respected in the industry.
“The YMCA has a high level of credibility with the local community for the quality of service it provides and the manner in which it engages the community. The YMCA’s proposal, after a thorough review and consultation process, is to consider an integrated model with the childcare centre and kindergarten services,” she said.
Ms Martin said council would continue to lobby the Federal Government to meet any deficit for operation of both centres.
“Foster and Mirboo North are smaller communities that rely on these vital services which contribute to early childhood development, parents’ ability to maintain jobs, employment of staff at the centres and the local economy,” she said.
Council is negotiating with UnitingCare to extend its withdrawal time to enable childcare to continue.
There were no submissions from a licenced provider to manage the Prom Coast Centre for Children childcare program in Foster.
Council will assist the Corner Inlet community to establish a community based committee of management to operate the centre.
Parent Wil Pruyn backed that move.
“The meeting on Thursday night was a really positive meeting of about 20 parents and community members that are ready to step up and take on the challenge of putting together a steering committee,” she said.
“The shire officers took attendees through the processes the committee will need to go through now.”
UnitingCare Gippsland will run the centre through to the end of April if they can find sustainability money from the community, according to acting CEO Tracey Gibson.
“Our board has said we can no longer fund these services beyond February 28 and we’ve written to the council to advise them of that and we will work with them to identify some funding,” she said.
“If we can’t find this funding unfortunately the childcare program will have to close.”
Ms Pruyn said the community would work hard during January and February to seek incorporation and a childcare licence.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=9493

Posted by on Dec 24 2013. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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