BEING a single parent in Warrnambool is tough but Joe D’Aiello says better out-of-school care would make it easier.
Working from 6.30am, the single father pays a preschool carer to take six-year-old Nicholas to school and another group to watch him after school.
Holiday programs don’t start until 8am and pupil-free days force Mr D’Aiello to take a day off work.
While south-west primary schools are surveying family needs for out-of-school care programs, Mr D’Aiello has asked Warrnambool City Council to catch up with metropolitan communities and launch a before-school program similar to those operating after school.
The single father moved from Brisbane last summer, but has been unable to find the care he expected for Nicholas.
He said Warrnambool City Council had a small-town mentality on the issue, which discouraged single parents from looking for work.
“Warrnambool City Council needs to wake up,” Mr D’Aiello told The Standard. “If they’re encouraging people to move from cities to regional areas they’ve got to provide these types of services.
“They say it’s hard to work out with the bus drops, but I think parents shouldn’t need to worry about the ins and outs of a service.
“Even if it’s two single parents at first from each school it would be enough to make the service worthwhile.
“They say they don’t have the demand or budget for before-school care, but if council tried this they would pop up like mushrooms.”
Mr D’Aiello said he felt it was important to work, even as a single father.
“I have a responsibility to work and I accept it, to pay rent and be useful to the community.
“Employers are flexible to an extent but it’s hard when you have to look after customers at 6am or even 7.30am.”
WCC community services manager Kellie King said before school care was available through some Family Day Care providers for children up to the age of 12.
"The issue of before school care has been raised by a few people in the community but large enough numbers are needed to provide a service," she said.
"Traditionally in other areas, before school care is provided by schools."
East Warrnambool Primary School principal Lindy Sharpe said parents had been surveyed about the option of joining with program planning group Camp Australia for an out-of-school care program.
“Once we get the survey results our council will meet and we’ll determine whether it’s feasible. When it’s based at the school, it makes the transition easier for working parents,” Ms Sharpe said.