Child care place high on family?s Christmas list

By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

A child care place for his two-year-old daughter is on Ian McKirdy's Christmas wish list.

The family arrived in Gladstone just over a year ago and their plight is not unique.

Gladstone has a chronic shortage of family day care providers, nannies and babysitters.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited's (GAPDL) Reese Banks has just completed a survey of the region and discovered childcare is one of the top issues for residents.

'We decided to canvas the community to find out what services are needed,' Mr Banks said.

'Out of the survey, 79 issues to do with childcare featured.

'These included a lack of childcare facilities for shiftworkers, extensive waiting lists for children under the age of two, lack of affordable childcare, lack of occasional care places, and a lack of education-based learning for children in childcare.'

But this is of little help for the McKirdy family.

'We put our names down in two childcare facilities in town in the hope of getting our daughter into childcare,' said Ian McKirdy.

'She will not get into childcare until next year when Tania returns to work part-time.'

Ian McKirdy said while it was lucky his partner Tania was prepared to stay at home to care for their daughter, other families may not be so fortunate.

Reese Banks from the GAPDL said the survey was conducted to establish the range of services available and those not available relating to children up to five years of age, their parents and caregivers.

'We conducted 165 community consultations including speaking with playgroups and childcare operators,' he said.

'In the process we found there was an extensive waiting list for childcare places, especially for children under two years of age.

'Gladstone parents want more accessible operating hours for childcare, better behavioural strategy classes and education for parents who have children in childcare.



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