Parents ask if councils can step in to solve regional ‘childcare deserts’ – Michmutters

Parents ask if councils can step in to solve regional ‘childcare deserts’

Port Lincoln mother of four Krystal Miller lives with debilitating Crohn’s disease and after-school-hours care has become essential for her family.

However, the past six months have been a roller-coaster ride as BYK Kids after-school-hours care faced an uncertain future following the non-renewal of its lease.

Last week it closed its doors to more than 100 families after being unable to find new rental premises.

A photo of care provider staff and children sitting down looking sad.
BYK Kids was the only after-school-hours care service in Port Lincoln.(ABC Eyre Peninsula: Bernadette Clarke)

Ms Miller said the closure would have an impact on her life, and many other parents.

“I am immune-compromised and when I’m sick, it’s been so important to be able to have somewhere that I can trust with my kids,” Ms Miller said.

“So now that’s gone, I have no options anymore — it’s quite stressful.

BYK Kids was the only service offering after-school care and vacation care in the region.

But Ms Miller still counts herself lucky because her parents live in Port Lincoln, and while they both work, they do help.

“There are a lot of professional women and men here in Port Lincoln, who are not able to actually go back to work because there’s nowhere to put their kids,” Ms Miller said.

Program manager Cassandra Bilney held back tears on the final day of care after six years of helping Port Lincoln families.

“I don’t know what the solution is,” Ms Bilney said.

“I don’t know if the council could look at having something council owned but the lack of services is definitely a problem.”


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