It is with deep sadness and disappointment that we share the news with you of our decision to close our Djanaba Occasional Childcare Centre indefinitely, effective from close of business today, Thursday the 26th March 2020.

As part of our response plan to the current COVID-19 crisis, our primary responsibility is to our clients and staff, and ensuring all remain safe and in good health. Unfortunately, we have had to make the difficult decision to close the Djanaba Occasional Care Centre at Jannali for the foreseeable future from close of business today, Thursday 26th March 2020.

As an occasional care centre only operating 3 days a week, we have few permanent bookings and mostly rely on our regular’s casual usage of our services. With declining usage over the last few months expected to continue, and anticipated escalations in Government directions in regards to safe operation in the future, we are unable to sustain the expenses of running the centre in it’s current form.

The health and wellbeing of both children and staff is of paramount importance, and today, Sutherland Shire Family Services has moved to online video and phone support of clients, with the majority of our staff working from home. For our Djanaba children, our recommendation is that the safest place for the children is at home.

Today, all regular current users of our Djanaba centre have been personally contacted via phone, and will also receive a letter sharing further information with them. While families are understandably disappointed, they were all very gracious and supportive of this decision given the current climate. We have extended our family support services to Djanaba families if required.

Djanaba has been a pivotal part of SSFS service history for over 30 years, and the care and dedication we have been able to provide to children and their families throughout this timeframe is credited to the wonderful staff we have working within the Djanaba team. Our CEO Ashleigh Daines took the opportunity when announcing this decision to staff today to thank the wonderful Djanaba team for all of their support, enthusiasm and dedication. This wonderful group of educators has enriched the lives of many children and families within our community, and we sincerely thank them for their service and contributions.

SSFS continues to otherwise operate, providing support via non face to face channels, including phone, email, messaging, video conferencing and online content. As always, we are here to offer information, advocacy and referrals to all families in the Shire who may be experiencing hardship, trauma or disadvantage.

Sutherland Shire Family Services is a comprehensive wrap-around service that does both short and long term work with women, families, young people and children in the Sutherland Shire and St.George areas who have experienced trauma, disadvantage or violence. We focus on capacity, need, and connecting people with help that not only provides a safety net, financially and emotionally, but helps people heal from trauma and rebuild their lives. SSFS’ team of qualified professionals such as social workers, family therapists, educators and welfare workers deliver real and practical support to uplift family outcomes. We offer Family Case Worker Services, providing information, advocacy and referrals, Education and Support Groups, and Court Advocacy Services. We also offer specialised, culturally appropriate and responsive Aboriginal support services.  We provide quality, evidence-based programs that positively contribute to the safety and well-being of families, creating a brighter future for children in the community, Our Building Resilience in Children (BRIC) Project is a specialised, child- focussed early intervention domestic violence support program that supports families who have experienced trauma rebuild their secure attachment and create emotionally safe environments for their children.

We thank you all for your continued support during these unprecedented times, as we all work together for the benefit of the community.