17 May 2019

Celebrating 40 years of Family Day Care services

Youth support
For four decades, educators at Churches of Christ Family Day Care in Maryborough and Hervey Bay have built community by supporting families and nurturing children across the Fraser Coast.

Over 100 members of the public joined in the 40th birthday celebrations held at the Maryborough Family Day Care office, enjoying live entertainment and a timeline image gallery, speeches from the service’s first Coordinator, Jeanette Oldfield and a performance by the Unndennoo community in their traditional language of Butchulla.

Retiring 25 years ago, Ms Oldfield said she was honoured to be a part of the event, having made the journey from Brisbane for this occasion. 

“In our first 12 months we had so much help from the community. Hosting playgroups at the Hervey Bay and Maryborough Church of Christ churches, receiving donation from members of the church and local businesses. This is a celebration for the community,” Ms Oldfield said.

Current Service Manager Rebecca Westendorp said it was a wonderful turn out and a joy to see past, present and future families join the festivities.

“It was an honour for staff to see the families they have helped and create a bond with children watching them flourish,” Ms Westendorp said.

Churches of Christ Care was the first family day care scheme in the Wide Bay Region, establishing in January 1979 in Hervey Bay. From humble beginnings the service commenced with one coordinator and a handful of educators in Hervey Bay.

As the community needs grew, our services became sought after by many across the Wide Bay region. To meet these needs two offices were established in Maryborough and Hervey Bay. After 40 years the Family Day Care service continues to play an integral part in the community, providing care to young families from the Sunshine Coast to regional Gayndah and Mundubbera.

Family Day Care Maryborough and Family Day Care Hervey Bay have active partnerships and collaborations with various community groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities within the Wide Bay region.

Once a week the Family Day Care service holds a playgroup at Tiaro State School offering an opportunity for all parents, grandparents, carers and children to come together to learn, play and interact.

Participating in community events, the Unndennoo community kindergarten has played an integral part in the service’s celebrations. The Unndennoo community kindergarten is an indigenous community kindergarten held in the Maryborough office once a week.

The Family Day Care service also provides support for Pathways for early learning and development (PELD), Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY), and Family and Child Connect service.

Children, Youth and Families offer accredited early childhood and family day care programs to 878 children and families in Cunnamulla, Gin Gin, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Brisbane.