AITING: Erin and Janu Cannings, of East Lismore, with Eva, 5 months, and Stella, have discovered some childcare centres are in big demand.
AITING: Erin and Janu Cannings, of East Lismore, with Eva, 5 months, and Stella, have discovered some childcare centres are in big demand.

Parents queue for child care

DISCERNING parents are creating waiting lists of up to two years at certain childcare centres on the Northern Rivers, while places go begging at other centres.

A year after ABC Learning Centres went into receivership, The Northern Star can reveal families are turning their backs on centres that do not meet their expectations.

Director of the Alstonville Nestle-In Child Care Centre, Lisa Martin, said her centre was full and the waiting list for next year was rapidly lengthening.

“There is plenty of child care available in our area, but it might not be what people want,” Ms Martin said.

“Child care costs a lot of money, so people demand a certain level of service. These days parents are making more informed choices.”

East Lismore couple Janu and Erin Cannings this week made their first inquiries about child care for their 18-month-old daughter Stella.

Mr Cannings said they looked at a number of centres and put Stella on a waiting list at Friends in East Lismore, even though they could have taken places immediately available at other Lismore centres.

“We wanted something homely and with a bit of soul,” Mrs Cannings said.

Mr Cannings said their family had a choice because they are not desperate to put Stella into care.
“It is more for her socialisation,” he said.

“When you go to a centre you get a feel for the place. It is hard to pinpoint what is wrong with some of them, but I would not want to spend any time in some, so how could you leave your kids there?”

Director of Bangalow Community Children’s Centre, Kerry Ellbourn, said parents travelled from as far as Pottsville and Lennox Head to attend the centre. “People really want to be at this centre. It is not that they can’t get in anywhere else,” she said.

The Australian childcare union, the LHMU, has called on the Federal Government to ensure the remaining ABC Learning Centres are sold to a reputable, quality operator.


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