Children left out as Cobar Mobile suffers funding cut

Cobar Mobile Children’s Services staff Tammy McKay and Bridget Brookman are concerned that a changes in funding will see a number of services lost for local families.

Changes to funding for the Cobar Mobile Children’s Services (CMCS) will see some of their services lost to families in the Cobar district.

CMCS staff provide a mobile children’s service for families living on geographically isolated properties within the Cobar Shire and has been operating since 1982.

Since that time the service has been receiving legacy funding from the State Government.

Staff were advised early last year that their legacy funding would come to an end and they would have to transition to a new pool of funding.

Staff member Bridget Brookman said they were initially concerned about where funding for the service would come from however they were lucky enough to gain some funding through ‘Start Strong Pathways’.

“CMCS program’s aim is to enhance children’s early learning and developmental outcomes through supported educational playgroups, parents support and toy library for children aged 0-12 years,” Bridget said.

The ‘Start Strong Pathways’ program however only has a focus on children aged 0-3 years.

“Unfortunately, Cobar Mobile will have to source other funding for children aged 4-12 years,” she said.

CMCS staff have taken the matter up with Mayor Lilliane Brady and State Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries.

Mayor Brady has pledged to take the matter up with the NSW Minister of Education Rob Stokes and will appeal for his assistance and direction for funding.

She said farmers are having a hard enough time now with the drought without also taking away a service that assists with their children’s education.

Bridget said until additional funding for children in the 4-12 years age group has been found, there will be a transition for the service.

She said this will include a sad farewell to some of their long-standing children and families on remote stations.

“The current itinerary will have to be restructured and we will be contacting our families,” Bridget said.

The service will now have a new focus on children 0-3 years and will provide services at bush venues from Monday to Thursday and a Friday morning service in town for families with children in the 0-3 age group.

Bridget clarified that this funding cut applies to CMCS’s Project 1 and will only affect the mobile service.

She said it will not affect Project 2, the Ngalli Preschool service, which is classed by NSW Department of Education as a different service.