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The After School Care Alliance

Inner West Childcare and Schools Shortage Forum - 21 OctoberLeichhardt Council has formed the After School Care Alliance, a grouping of councils, providers and P&Cs, to fight for solutions to Sydney’s after school care crisis.

Councils and providers have been frustrated in attempts to get the NSW Government involved in this growing problem in Sydney’s inner city.

Without action, in years to come more and more children will be turned away from day care and after school care – and increasingly from our local schools altogether.

Council believes that the wellbeing and education of children is our priority and we need to work together, in an effective alliance, to influence how our childcare resources are allocated and to develop practical solutions to this important challenge.

If you would like to register to be part of the After School Care Alliance, please email Tara Day Williams with your name, suburb, email address and contact number.

Read the pdf-new-icon.gifUse of Council Facilities for After School Care Policy (PDF 584.3KB)

After School Care Alliance Policy Platform

At the second meeting of the After School Care Alliance in September, we endorsed the policy platform. The eight points of the After School Care Alliance policy platform are:

  • 1. OSHC services must have priority use of appropriate school facilities for before school care; after school care and vacation care. Access to school facilities for administration and set up/pack down should also be accommodated.
  • 2. OSHC must be addressed in the planning and design of all new primary schools and in all planned extensions to existing schools.
  • 3. As school enrolments continue to grow OSHC space in school grounds is not reduced, where possible it is increased to meet the needs of more families.
  • 4. Lease or licence of school facilities for OSHC must be approached as a service to support children and families, not as an opportunity to increase income to the school.
  • 5. In inner city areas where space is limited, variations of the indoor and outdoor space requirements should be considered.
  • 6. A specific unit should be established in the Department of Education and Communities to support the adequate supply of quality OSHC.
  • 7. To ensure OSHC services are affordable OSHC fees (paid by parents) should be capped and rent increases (paid by services) should be linked to inflation.
  • 8. To support the provision of quality OSHC, the role for parents in the selection of providers and provision of OSHC should be strengthened. This strengthened role should include the ability to extend the operation of current OSHC providers (without the requirement to tender for providers).

The Alliance resolved to lobby all political parties and members of Parliament to take action to address the out of school hours care crisis and to adopt the Alliance’s policy platform in the lead up to the next State election.  

What you can do:
Alliance members can lobby politicians to take action to address the out of school hours care crisis and to adopt the Alliance’s policy platform:

  • Write to the Minister for Education, the Hon. Adrian Piccoli MP - office@piccoli.minister.nsw.gov.au or Level 9, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000
  • Contact your local members of Parliament and request that they adopt this sensible approach to the after school care crisis faced by so many families in Sydney and beyond.
  • Ask your school, P&C or after school care provider to get involved in our Alliance’s campaign – email tarad@lmc.nsw.gov.au to join the Alliance

Read the pdf-new-icon.gifMinutes - 3 September 2014 After School Care Alliance Meeting (PDF 105.4KB)

After School Care Alliance Meetings

8 April 2014

Leichhardt Council hosted the first meeting of the After School Care Alliance on 8 April 2014.  The meeting was well attended by P&C representatives, parents, and service providers from across Sydney.

The four speakers were:

  • Cr Darcy Byrne, Mayor of Leichhardt;
  • Robyn Monro-Miller, CEO of Network of Community Activities;
  • Steph Croft, Northern Sydney Council of P&Cs; and
  • Lil Cullen, Randwick OOSH Parent Management Committee.

The opportunities to address the out of school hours care challenges we discussed. The meeting agreed that:

  • 1. Out of school hours care should have priority access to school facilities from 7am-9am and from 3pm – 6pm.
  • 2. All new schools to be planned and built with on-site out of school hours care space.
  • 3. Develop a 5 point action plan for out of school hours care.

Read the pdf-new-icon.gif Minutes - 8 April 2014 After School Care Alliance Meeting (PDF 26.4KB)

3 September 2014

Read the pdf-new-icon.gifMinutes - 3 September 2014 After School Care Alliance Meeting (PDF 105.4KB)

 

Summary of Findings from Leichhardt Council Parent Survey

  • OSHC is currently needed by the large majority of families with school age children in Leichhardt, more than 90%.
  • A shortage of OSHC is impacting on the wellbeing and many families, (including extended family and friendship networks). The shortage of OSHC is frequently described as ‘stressful’ for families by parents, accessing OSHC is considered by one parent as ‘one of the most stressful experiences of parenthood’. The shortage of OSHC is placing ‘significant pressure’ on many families.
  • While many families are ‘getting by’ with formal and informal care arrangements outside of school hours, almost half of the families who completed the survey consider that these arrangements do not adequately meet all their needs. These arrangements are often referred to as ‘juggling’, ‘scrambled solutions’ or ‘forced solutions’ and parents are ‘just able to cope’. The ‘mix of arrangements’ can be confusing for children, and parents ‘worry that it's too much’ for their children. It is clear that families feel pressures of a lack of adequate and regular OSHC on a daily basis.
  • The survey results also highlight psychological impacts for children and parents. Psychological impacts on parents include a loss of ability to provide the care their children need (directly or indirectly), concern about the impact on their children, strain on relationships, feelings of ‘being stretched’ and ‘panic’. Psychological impacts on children include confusion, a lack of routine, stress and as a result impaired learning ability.
  • A shortage of OSHC is impacting on parents’ ability to work, study or care for a family member and a large majority of parents have had change the way they work, study or care because of a result of OSHC. These impacts include reduced hours of work, reduced productivity, reduced career opportunities, and changing the type of work undertaken. The extent of the impact on parent’s work is often described as ‘significant’ or ‘severe’. The secondary impact of these changes is a reduced ability to cover costs of living, including costs of housing as a result of reduced earning capacity. These impacts appear to be experienced to a greater extent by female parents than male parents.

Read the pdf-new-icon.gif Complete Results from the Out of School Hours Care Survey (PDF 446.8KB) 

Current Alliance Members

  • Annandale After School Centre Inc
  • Annandale North OOSH Association
  • Ashfield Mayor
  • Balmain East OOSH Care
  • Birchgrove After School Care (Camp Australia)
  • Eaton Street Centre OOSH
  • Kegworth Out of School Hours Inc
  • Leichardt Out of School Hours Inc
  • Marrickville Mayor
  • Network of Community Activities
  • Newtown Kids Cottage, Newtown Public School
  • Northern Sydney Council of P&Cs (representing 30 P&Cs)
  • Parents from the Inner West, Northern Sydney and the Eastern suburbs.
  • Primary OSHCare
  • Randwick Out of School Hours Care Management Committee
  • Rozelle Out of School Hours Care
  • St Brendan's Kids Care Inc
  • St Columba's North Leichhardt OSHC Inc - operated by Early Achievers
  • St Fiarcre's After School Care (Leichardt Out of School Hours Inc)
  • TASK Kids