Wagga Wagga Regional Family Day Care to celebrate 40 years

Published: 30 May 2018 11:22am

Wagga Wagga Regional Family Day Care to celebrate 40 years - 21 April 2015

Wagga Wagga Regional Family Day Care (WWRFDC) will celebrate 40 years of service to the Riverina community at a special birthday event next month.

Family Day Care has gone from strength to strength over the past four decades, starting as a pilot program that was the first in country NSW to receive funding.

From those humble beginnings, WWRFDC now caters for 360 children per week across 250 families, stretching across the region from Lockhart to Coolamon.

“Family Day Care is a unique service in that Early Childhood Educators provide care for other people’s children in their own homes,” Family Day Care Service Manager Kym Stewart said.

“It creates an environment where children are nurtured in a small group setting and are encouraged to develop their skills and knowledge through the educator’s individualised programming.

“That’s the foundation WWRFDC was built on all those years ago and one we strive to continue today.

“WWRFDC has a long and proud history in the Riverina and it’s a vital service that’s now grown to providing such things as 24-hour care and a mobile play session that we take to villages such as Humula.”

The 40th anniversary celebration will be held on Saturday 9 May at 7pm at the RSL Club’s Mirage Room and tickets are $45 per person. To RSVP, contact WWRFDC on 6926 9367 or email fdc@wagga.nsw.gov.au by Monday, 27 April.

WWRFDC history

  • In 1974 Wagga Wagga City Council formed an Early Childhood committee to explore childcare services for Wagga.
  • Mary Kidson travelled to Sydney to investigate the concept Family Day Care – Home based childcare.
  • WWCC began advertising for “Mothers at home” to provide care.
  • In 1975 Wagga Wagga Family Day Care began operations under a pilot program, and was the first country scheme in NSW to receive funding. The first office operated from the Rest Centre on the Esplanade.
  • Childcare cost $0.50 per hour, or $20 for the whole week. By the end of the first year FDC had 30 families registered.
  • In 1978 Wagga FDC hosted the first National Family Day Care conference, held at the then Riverina College of Advanced Education.
  • Also in 1978 the scheme grew through demand of childcare in Wagga and the Service split into two schemes.
  • In 1989 Family Day Care regulations were legislated including a Carer’s Code of Conduct and requiring educators to hold first aid qualifications.
  • In 1999 Family Day Care moved to its current location in the Civic Centre.

WWRFDC today

  • WWRFDC today has eight Co-ordination Unit staff, 51 self- employed education and care business operators in the region, covering west to Lockhart and north to Coolamon. It caters for 250 families, 360 children per week.
  • WWRFDC caters for working families who need 24-hour care, weekends, and overnight care, with priority for Australian Defence Force families.
  • Care is provided in in small ratios of one educator to four children under school age, with a maximum of seven children under the age of 13. Educators provide individualised development programs for children, especially catering for children with special needs.
  • Family Day Care operates a play session from the Botanic Gardens site three days per week.  It also has a mobile play session for rural villages, with an artist in residence providing a diverse program for children.
  • WWRFDC also provides in home care in association with NSW In Home Care. This service caters for families with multiple birth, special needs, rural and remote areas where an educator operates out of the family’s home.
  • Mary Kidson is the patron of WWRFDC and still maintains an active role in the promotion of the service today.