WORKING families of the Camden Haven will have their childcare options cut following the decision by the Laurieton Catholic Parish to close all out of school hours care services.
The parish operates After School Care and Vacation Care for school aged children, which is attended by students from public and private schools in the Camden Haven.
On Friday Father Michael Roohan confirmed that the upcoming July school holidays would be the last Vacation Care Service and After School Care would close at the end of the year.
“The decision revolves around dollars,” Fr Roohan said.
“We’ve lost money on the service for the past two years and the budget forecast for the coming financial year was for another loss.”
Parents were notified via email last week of the decision and letters will also be sent to families.
Parents who contacted the Camden Haven Courier said they would be prepared to pay more to keep the service running, or work on fundraising for the service.
Fr Roohan said the service already had a large amount of outstanding fees to be paid so increasing charges may result in further debt. He said the amount needed to put the service back in the black was more than what could be raised from fundraising ventures.
“We certainly regret having to make this decision,” he said.
“It wasn’t made lightly. The vacation care service has been operating for 25 years and began with volunteers and a community wanting to help working parents. But the world and regulations have changed since then.
“The after school care began 18 years ago. So we’ve had a long association with these services. I hope that the service was valuable to people and I hope that someone out there will take up the opportunity and operate this kind of service for working families.”
Around 25 families use the vacation care service regularly. According to parents the children enjoy attending the service which runs fun, educational and practical programs for children of primary school ages. Craft, cooking, arts, music and excursions to the movies and activities in Port Macquarie are part of the schedule. Staff members are trained in child care and, according to parents, love their job and the children.
The Laurieton Men’s Shed also come to the service to teach children wood work crafts.
The out of school hours services are operated out of the old school building on the grounds of St Joseph’s Primary school in Laurieton. The closure will not affect St Joseph’s Early Childhood Services which runs the Long Day Care and Preschool.