Child Care at Ngala
Our history of child care begins over 50 years ago, when Ngala began fundraising for a day nursery, to allow the single parents of Perth an affordable child care option while they worked.
In 1968, Perth had 33 day nurseries. All but four were run privately for profit. In most cases, their fees were not affordable for those with the greatest need for care. Ngala’s fundraising committee resolved to establish a day nursery. It was clear that it would benefit the single parents of Perth – but there were benefits for Ngala too. The proposed centre would allow mothercraft trainees to have experience with children up to five years of age. Intensive fundraising efforts followed, including the first ‘Bride of the Year Quest’ in 1969.
On 30 January 1971, the new Ngal-a Day Care Centre was opened by Her Excellency Lady Alexandra Hasluck, a former member of the Alexandra Home Committee. Lady Hasluck was the wife of Governor-General of Australia Sir Paul Hasluck.
The centre had full-time places for fifty children: ten under 12 months of age; 20 one – to three-year-olds; and 20 four to five-year-olds. Preference was given to children of single parents who worked or studied full-time or were under social stress. Fees were calculated according to family income, with most being low-income families.
Sister Mary Rodorea was placed in charge, with mothercraft nurses and trainees making up the staff. By mid-February, the first five children had started attending. Twenty children were enrolled by the fourth week.
The Commonwealth Government became financially involved in child care in 1972, under the Child Care Act 1972. The Act recognised the government’s role in ensuring the availability of affordable, quality day care for vulnerable families. In that first year, the government provided a staggering $6.5m for non-profit organisations to operate centre-based day care facilities that gave priority places to children in ‘special need’. This category included children from single-parent or low-income families, children of newly arrived migrants, or where one of the parents was sick or incapacitated.
Now, in 2021, Ngala is proud to continue to offer quality, affordable child care from three centres across the Perth metropolitan area and through a number of private Family Day Care providers in regional WA.