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New figures show that thousands of New South Wales families are unable to get after-school care for their children – with warnings that situation is set to get worse.

One of the sector’s peak body Network of Community Activities has released new figures that show up to 2,000 students a week are missing out on after-school care, due to a lack of available places.

The areas with the longest waiting list are in metropolitan Sydney: the inner west, north shore, western Sydney, the Hills District, Sutherland Shire and parts of the eastern suburbs.

However, regional areas are also experiencing shortages, including in parts of the Hunter, Riverina and in the north of the state.

Many parents are becoming increasingly frustrated with the system, with some families facing up to a two-year waiting list for a place.

“We both work full-time, so at the moment we’re just juggling to pick up the child when school ends,” one parent told the ABC in a recent interview.  “At the moment we’re juggling between having one or the other of us home at three or using parents and parents-in-law to look after our kids after school.”

With new schools being built without after-school care facilities attached, the peak body for out-of hours school is concerned the problem will continue to escalate.

Robyn Monro Miller, Chief Executive of the Network of Community Activities, told the ABC, it was common sense to factor in after-school care into new development planning.

“We have new schools coming online and the Department of Education does need to make sure that in their planning for these new schools that we actually have out-of-school-hours services and space for those services in that school plan,” she said.  “In most cases that’s not happening.  There is a huge school coming online in Parramatta and we’re hoping that they will consider … that part of bringing that school on board is about having an out-of-school-hours service.”

In the meantime some councils are taking after-school care provision into their own hands.  Leichhardt Council, in Sydney’s inner west is in the process of setting up after-school care centres to assist families in the area.

Mayor Darcy Byrne said public buildings were often being ignored as potential childcare sites.

“Town halls and community centres across the state are under utilised … that’s why we’ve invented this policy and I think it would be great to see other local governments come on board and for the State Government to provide financial incentives to make use of these sort of facilities.”

  • The cost of living is so high there is so much pressure for family’s to have a dual income but there is not enough being done to allow this to happen. Furthermore, the Government claims it wants to see gender parity in the workforce but again it is not providing care options for children to support this.


    • yeah it would be ideal to have a workplace that was flexible for school runs but it is not a reality for most.

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  • That doesn’t sound good at all. I hope they hurry up and get things sorted

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  • This has always been a problem – years ago, stay at home mums would be happy to have your littlies along with their own to enable you to go to work. This meant that both families benefited with extra money – maybe this will have to happen again.

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  • Only some schools have out of hours school care. Some run them before school as well as after. If there was more available more Mums (especially single ones) would be able to return to work. There are waiting lists for that and childcare.
    You practically need to put your name down for childcare as soon as you know you are pregnant. I actually know a Mum who did that. He older children had attended the previous ones so she may have been given preference.

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  • Hopefully an answer to this problem will be found soon to relieve parents’ concerns.

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  • New schools and school renovations should not be allowed occur without adequate out of school hours facilities being incorporated out the design. Town halls and similar are all good and well, but often have outside toilets and other design features not conducive to out of school hours care. They are not a permanent solution and should not be treated as such by governments.

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  • Transporting the kids can be a problem if OOSHC isn’t available onite.

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  • The whole Childcare system in all states is terrible abd needs total overhaul.

    Reply

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