Thursday, 23 October 2008

Whither ABC?

There are often two staples for parents with young kids, and both are named ABC. One of course is on TV, and can provide hours of entertainment and for those of us longer in the tooth, years of memories, and the other is the child care provider.

The reality of life is that often both parents are working and require assistance in the care of children to enable both to work. That assistance is most commonly given by ABC Learning Centres which as I understand it run about 1000 child care centres in Australia.

When parents split up, if they are already using child care centres, they become no less important. Sometimes their vital role increases, because in addition to enabling both parents to work (both of whom are often less well off immediately after they split) they also allow the children some peace and normality in their lives and then become a place where children are collected or dropped off by each of the parents who now do not need to see each other.

What is especially concerning now is that ABC Learning Centres are in trouble. Founder and then CEO Eddie Groves is gone. Shares recently have been trading at zero.

Now, according to a report in The Australian, government officials have been telling Senate Estimates Committee hearings that the Government is planning for the possible contingency of the collapse of ABC Learning Centres. I just hope that whatever happens that the children are safe and that parents can send their children to a child care centre confident in the knowledge that when they collect their children at the end of the day they are not told: "This centre will be closed form tomorrow." I just hope that doesn't come to pass.

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