Federal cuts force up child care costs


MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire says it will continue to provide family day care, despite the imminent slashing of federal funding for the service.

As a result, the shire says it has been forced to double its administration levee from mid-July from 75 cents to $1.50 an hour for each child “rather than see this service lost to the community”.

The shire regards its family day care as a high quality, regulated home based child care service for children up to 13. Children are looked after in a registered carer’s home – not a day care centre.

Operators provide flexible care day and night, seven days a week under a licence agreement with the shire.

The shire is regarded as the administrator of the service which provides places for about 200 peninsula families. It compiles timesheets, ensures child care providers run clean and tidy premises and have relevant licences. Home visits ensure compliance.

Fees depend on family incomes and are usually paid fortnightly. Rebates are recouped through child care assistance schemes.

The shire receives $140,000 from the federal government to help run of the service – but this will stop on 1 July.

Parents will be able to recoup a proportion of the increased fees through either the child care rebate or child care assistance. It is expected that no parent will be asked to pay the full amount of the increase.

The mayor Cr Bev Colomb said the family day care program was highly respected and had consistently met the requirements of the national quality framework (NQF). It was awarded a rating of “exceeding the national quality standards” at the most recent assessments and ratings visit.

“Council is committed to the FDC program and the wonderful service it provides in our community,” she said.

“It is always a difficult decision to raise fees, but to continue this important service in light of funding cuts leaves us no option.”

Cr Colomb said family day care users should contact the shire for further information about the new fees.

First published in the Mornington News – 16 June 2015


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