Walcha Council looks at the needs of our local child carers

Local child care change is needed and it's not too late to have your say

Walcha Council recently conducted a child care survey following feedback received at the annual community meetings held late last year.

"Our community raised concerns regarding potential gaps in Walcha's current child care services at the regional meetings held in November 2019," said Walcha Council general manager Anne Modderno.

"In response to these concerns, Council launched a survey asking Walcha families to share their child care needs and ideas."

The survey was designed to discover the child care needs of the Walcha community for children aged 0 to 12 and collected 47 separate responses.

"We thank all of the families that responded to our child care survey," Ms Modderno said.

"We are pleased to report the results of this survey and hope to build on this information with our community members and industry stakeholders to develop strategies that meet the child care service needs of Walcha."

Responses to the survey indicate an overwhelming need for changes to child care services in the community.

"A large portion of families that completed the survey have flagged that we need before and/or after school and vacation care for our primary school children, longer hours and vacation care available at our preschool, and an expansion of services for children aged 0-2 years," Ms Modderno said.

Anne Modderno

Anne Modderno

"Council would like to facilitate a working group to review the data collected in detail, and help us to shape a strategy to bridge the gaps in our community child care services."

A Walcha Child Care Working Group will be formed to review the survey responses in more depth and help shape a strategy of initiatives to respond to the feedback.

"Many survey respondents have already indicated that they would be willing to be a part of this team," Ms Modderno said.

"Ideally we would like the group to consist of up to nine members including four council representatives from various teams (council, leadership and preschool teams), two family day carers and three parents/community members.

"The group will engage with our community throughout the development, review and finalisation phases of the strategy."

Ms Modderno said the group will meet at Council chambers on a weeknight for between two to three hours each time, and the first meeting will be scheduled for early March.

If you would like to be part of this group or would like to feed into the survey, please contact Walcha Council. The survey is still open on Walcha Council's website until this Sunday, March 1.

What you said about 0-2year olds...

21% of respondents with 0-2year olds that needed child care in 2020 said they did not yet have any arrangements in place. Of those that did have child care arrangements in place, 60% said they weren't happy with their current child care arrangements. When asked if there were long day care places available at Walcha Preschool whether they would consider using them, 61% said yes and 22% said maybe. 50% of respondents were happy to be out of pocket over $30 a day for this service.

What you said about 3-5year olds...

80% of respondents told us that they would use longer hours and vacation care services for preschool aged kids if they were available at Walcha Preschool, with 60% of these prepared to be out of pocket over $30 a day to use this service.

What you said about primary school ages...

67% of respondents with primary school aged kids said they needed some form of before and/or after school care. Of these, 45% had no arrangements in place for 2020 at the time of the survey. A staggering 71% of respondents said that they would use before/after school and vacation care services if they were available, and an additional 24% said that they may also use the service.

Over 80% of respondents were happy to pay $4 or more per hour for before/after school care, with varied results for reasonable out of pocket expenses for vacation care.