Covering a bigger area than ever before, the recently re-branded Greater Hume Children Services has been named the best service in NSW/ACT.
Staff will attend the national finals in September, awarded by the peak body, Family Day Care Australia.
The service, auspiced by Greater Hume Council, oversees 41 educators in NSW and 18 in Victoria, with 871 children registered for care as at the end of July.
New team leader Fiona Pattinson said the success of the service had a lot to do with their nature-based approach to family day care and the professionalism of educators.
“The beauty of family day care is we have educators who can start at 6am in the morning; for example in Batlow we look after families who are fruit pickers,” she said.
“In early childhood and family day care you can be working towards a certificate three in children services, but last year we decided to change our policy so that we will be taking educators who have a certificate three already.”
The service has a reach as far south as Benalla, with an educator there putting in the nomination to the Excellence in Family Day Care Awards.
Council’s corporate and community services director David Smith said Greater Hume had taken over provision in the area when Benalla Council’s services ceased.
“You can have services in a small place that would never be able to support a centre-based care model, because the numbers are just not there,” he said.
“Our long-term goal is to continue to expand.
“Up util the end of the last financial year, family day care services received federal government funding called the community support program, but that’s stopped and it’s now up to the team here and council to continue to grow the scheme so it’s financially viable long-term.”
Community services manager Lynnette O’Reilly said there was community need and respect for the service, managed by a four-person team with decades of experience between them.
“The educators work together; they share knowledge, but also spaces so the kids get broader experiences,” she said.
The service began as Hume Billabong Family Day Care in 1994 and was renamed to Greater Hume Children Services in 2011.