DISADVANTAGED Warracknabeal families are unable to afford occasional childcare because of Federal Government funding cuts.
Warracknabeal Neighbourhood House and Learning Centre's Take a Break program missed out on Federal Government grants in August last year.
In 2011 the centre's funding was also slashed when the Federal Government cut a $1.8-million childcare program.
Centre manager Wayne Lentsment said the centre was forced to boost childcare fees by 20 per cent last year to keep the program running.
He said the increase prevented some families from registering their children for the vital service.
"We are still missing a percentage of 'at risk' people who require funding support," he said.
"Younger families who don't have support in the Warracknabeal district and, through no fault of their own, don't have a high income can't afford the program. They are the ones who are still missing out."
Mr Lentsment said despite the funding cuts, the program had been extended from three days to four Tuesday to Friday.
"We are going ahead with the program because we have sufficient interest from the families in the Warracknabeal district," he said.
"I think we were buoyed by the fact that there was a lot of community support for the program.
"Families are getting behind it and are paying the costs of covering the service."
Yarriambiack Shire Mayor Kylie Zanker said the increased demand showed that the Warracknabeal community was 'crying out' for occasional childcare.
"It just shows how strong and resilient the community is and it also shows how necessary parents see this service," she said.
"For parents and children the program is a godsend because there is a lot of social isolation in smaller communities.
"To me this demonstrates there is a need but we need to be able to attract funding for it to be ongoing." Cr Zanker said Take a Break programs at Minyip, Murtoa and Rupanyup received the grants. She said it was disappointing to see financially-disadvantaged families in Warracknabeal miss out.
"It is always unfortunate to see that happen, especially in an area where there is no other option that is subsidised by the Federal Government," she said.
"Fees are kept to a minimum but they do rise because it is quality childcare by trained and qualified providers.
"This is a vital service for both children and parents because there are learning opportunities for children and on the flip-side, parents get the opportunity to visit other professionals, such as a dentist or doctor."