Mobile children’s services uncertain

Joey Bottom is one of the many children who currently benefit from playgroups provided by Cobar Mobile Children’s Services.

Funding for the continuation of Cobar Mobile Children’s Services (CMCS) playgroups for bush kids is up in the air with the service unsure what will happen from next month.

Four days a week the CMCS staff visit children on isolated properties catering for families on 17 stations to deliver educational activities for 68 children aged 0-12 years.

CMCS supervisor Tammy McKay said they deliver services for whatever level children are at including playgroup and preschool, along with activities for older children doing distance education.

They offer families a toy library and resource hire, early intervention help and can refer parents on to speech and hearing specialists where needed. CMCS also delivers a town playgroup session one day a week with up to 20 children attending.

The Cobar service was set up in 1982 and was originally State Government funded through DoCS (Department of Community Services).

Mrs McKay said the service is currently funded under legacy funding.

“We learned this year from an Independent early childhood group, the Community Early Learning Australia January 2018 NSW newsletter, Diane Lawson, the CEO at that time, said there were legacy funding concerns and uncertainty with funding due to expire June 2018,” Mrs McKay said.

One of the main problems with funding for mobile children’s services is that they come from many different sources.

“They can’t put a formula to the mobiles as each is different and set up in a way that suits their own community,” Mrs McKay said.

CMCS committee president Cr Lilliane Brady said she has been following up on the funding matter and said it looks like the playgroup service will continue to be funded but under a different system.