A mother-of-three says Warrnambool is failing to support women who work outside of the traditional nine-to-five hours.
Peta Blackett-Smith moved to the city five years ago and has found it challenging to manage her work-life balance due to a lack of before-school care services.
The full-time police officer said while her management was really supportive of her role as a mother, she found the city was "a little bit behind the times in supporting working women".
"I can't start work until 8.30-9am because my three kids are all primary-school aged and there's no before-school care services," she said.
"The after-school care service is great - I can't fault that - but there's limited options for the mornings."
Ms Blackett-Smith, her husband Paul and their three children made a seachange from Melbourne in 2016 and have no family in Warrnambool.
"Without that local family support, you can't actually start early and that hampers our ability to work," Ms Blackett-Smith said.
"And it's not just police, it's nurses, shift workers and really anyone with children who start before school time."
Ms Blackett-Smith said the issue was her biggest challenge when trying to balance her work and home life.
"Even last week, there was a school closure day and my husband was working away. When you don't have any family here, there's nothing to cover that and that's when it starts to impact your options within a workplace," she said.
Fortunately, Ms Blackett-Smith works in the police intelligence unit, meaning she can work from home or change her shifts if she really needs to.
"But that's not always open to me and it's not open at all to other women who work in Warrnambool," she said.
A Warrnambool City council spokesman said before-school care was provided through Family Day Care, which is held in the homes of registered educators.
"Family Day Care has been a model that has assisted shift workers over the years, providing before and after-school care, weekend, overnight and evening care," he said.
A wait list is currently in place for that program.
The spokesman said finding new employees was an obstacle to expanding the service.
"Council is currently looking for more educators to increase and expand the service and care to more families," he said.
TheirCare program also operates in some city schools, including Warrnambool West, Warrnambool and Warrnambool East primary schools.
The program provides before and after school care programs on campus from as early as 6.30am.
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