400 families in limbo as funding cuts scrap day care scheme

Funding cuts have put a stop to the service which has operated since 1983.
Funding cuts have put a stop to the service which has operated since 1983. Katy McDonnell

ABOUT 400 families are in limbo after it was revealed funding for the Bundaberg Baptist Family Day Care Scheme had been scrapped.

The cut means about 40 local educators will be looking for an alternative family day care service after the Federal Government decided not to extend its funding under the Community Support Program, leaving the organisation with a significant fiscal shortfall.

Baptist day care executive director Kylie Rickard said the service had been supporting local families since 1983 with the provision of professional care in a home environment.

It has also forged strong relationships with the community through connections with Bundaberg Hospital, Edon Place, Family and Child Connect, Child Safety and Early Childhood networks, among others.

"The BBFDC acknowledges how generous the Federal Government has been in previous years with funding, and knows that, as a family day care provider, they will not be alone in facing this challenge," Ms Rickard said.

She said while the team had been working tirelessly to come up with a solution, they had been unable to do so.

Consequently, the Baptist Union of Queensland, in conjunction with the Bundaberg Baptist Church, have made the decision to cease operating family day care under the scheme and to close the associated Kids in Cars hire and install service.

"It's just so disappointing that the government doesn't feel like family day care is as valuable as we feel it is. It's so different to long day care, it's so different to a centre. It's that one-to-four ratio that allows children such a different experience to the one they may receive in a centre," she said.

"Even the terminology educator has changed over the years. They used to be family day care mums, then family day care carers. It's just such a shame."

The service will cease from April 29.

Ms Rickard said they were working with the Family Day Care Association of Queensland to place the children and educators in an ongoing service before the final day of operation.

The change to BBFDC will not immediately affect the HIPPY or FDC Footprints Kindergarten programs.

Previously the funding provided 75 cents per child, per hour at an annual cap of up to $250,000.

"It's going to affect so many people," Ms Rickard said. "Yes it's going to affect the family day care educators, but we get calls daily from places like the hospital and Edon Place, who support women who are victims of domestic violence when they've got nowhere else to go and they need someone to look after their children. We are the ones that get the call and we place those children at the drop of a hat so those mums can get the help they need.

"We do the overnight care and the care that lasts 14 days or more - there's just all these other aspects in the community that we support. It's going to be a big shock to them."

Topics:  bundaberg baptist family day care scheme day care federal funding

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