Child care in jeop­ardy

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By LISA THOMAS

A SU­BI­ACO non-profit child­care cen­tre for atrisk chil­dren could be forced to close un­der a State Gov­ern­ment plan to end leases with child­care providers.

Su­bi­care Child Care Cen­tre, which leases premises from the De­part­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­ni­ties, will have to in­crease fees un­der the changes or risk clo­sure.

The changes, which come into ef­fect from June 2018, would af­fect ser­vices cur­rently pro­vided to more than 120 fam­i­lies at the cen­tre.

Su­bi­care di­rec­tor Lind­say Poggen­poel said the cen­tre was es­tab­lished in the 1980s un­der a gov­ern­ment pro­vi­sion to cre­ate af­ford­able com­mu­nity-based child­care in Su­bi­aco.

Ms Poggen­poel said the cen­tre was in the process of meet­ing key de­ci­sion-mak­ers and stake­hold­ers, but was con­cerned about the fu­ture of Su­bi­care.

“It would likely mean Su­bi­care would have to pay com­mer­cial rent and be re­spon­si­ble for all main­te­nance costs for the build­ing,” she said.

“We are a not-for-profit pro­vid­ing an es­sen­tial com­mu­nity ser­vice. This would im­pact all our fam­i­lies as we would have to sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease our fees to cover the in­creased op­er­at­ing costs.”

Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son said it was not ap­pro­pri­ate for the Gov­ern­ment, as the child­care reg­u­la­tor, to also own or lease prop­erty where child­care ser­vices were of­fered.

“Ev­i­dence sug­gests that th­ese ar­range­ments do not re­sult in sav­ings be­ing passed on to fam­i­lies in the form of lower fees and fam­i­lies are pay­ing sim­i­lar fees to cen­tres which are not op­er­at­ing from prop­er­ties man­aged by the De­part­ment,” he said.

“Th­ese changes will pro­vide an equal play­ing field across all child care ser­vices.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d457797

Su­bi­care di­rec­tor Lind­say Poggen­poel with Milie Benedit (4), Lola Benedit (2) and Farieda Zeitoun (4).

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