Page 1351 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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Baringa Child Care Centre

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (6.25): Last Saturday, it was my pleasure to attend the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Baringa Child Care Centre in Spence. Indeed, I was privileged to assist in cutting the giant birthday cake. The centre has been in operation since March 1983, opening for business in the Melba Flats—

Mr Hargreaves: I’ll bet the poor kids didn’t get any cake.

MR STEFANIAK: I did not either, mate; there were too many kids there. It has delivered high-quality childcare to the local community for some 25 years. Its early days were challenging but rewarding, providing support to many low-income families dealing with social issues and supporting families with a range of issues such as drugs, alcohol abuse, neglect, domestic violence and cultural differences.

When the Melba Flats were demolished in 1991, the centre moved to its new premises at Spence, to continue supporting many families in west Belconnen. Today, with the support from the local community and a very dedicated team of staff led by Judy Small, Baringa has flourished and is now located in Spence as part of the Mount Rodgers community facility.

Currently Baringa provides care for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. It is running at full capacity, with a very large waiting list. It provides a caring environment for the families it services. Assistance is offered to families in crisis. Baringa has always provided quality and affordable childcare. Over the last 25 years, more than 2,700 families have benefited from the high-quality, low-cost childcare provided by Baringa.

Baringa provides local jobs. Some 25 people from the local Canberra community are employed by the centre, and the staff expertise covers childcare workers, assistants and registered nurses. All are trained as multicultural workers and in the special needs of children with disabilities.

In addition, Baringa provides a supportive learning environment for those studying childcare in the region. It hosts, on a regular basis, visiting students from the Canberra Institute of Technology, the University of Canberra and private childcare training organisations. It has maintained the highest levels of accreditation throughout its operation, which reflects its commitment to meeting the individual needs of the children within the centre.

Its objectives are to provide a comprehensive integrated service, including care, education, health, safety and nutrition programs which seek to foster all aspects of children’s development. They provide support for families and all who care for young children. They believe that each child comes to the centre with a different set of experiences, knowledge and interest, and they seek to build on the child’s home experiences and acknowledge the range of cultural backgrounds of families.

Baringa Child Care Centre also believes that adults who are responsible for children should have access to services and facilities that will enhance their opportunities and

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