The original building built in 1955, MOCCA, consisted of two rooms and a covered verandah. In March 1963 the Mother-craft Nurses were given the building and began providing a service that supported mothers who found themselves alone during those early days of Canberra’s development. As the population grew so did the building and demand.
Originally run by mostly voluntary staff the Commonwealth Government eventually agreed to fund the service and take on the overall operation by providing paid staff. The committment continued until self-government was introduced to the Territory. The overall responsibility for the service was then passed to the ACT Government. For 24 years the centre was known as Manuka Occasional Childcare Centre.
Early in 1987 the ACT Government called for tenders from the community to manage the service as an independently run community organisation. The successful submission came from parents who were using the centre and who were committed to the service remaining a stand-alone community service. In 1988 the Manuka Occasional Childcare Centre Association was formed and acronym MOCCA began. For fourteen years the ACT Government provided an annual subsidy to help offset the costs of maintaining an occasional service for the community, however, as more and more women entered the workforce the demand for full and part time care made the future of occasional care uncertain.
A reveiw of all occasional care services in the Territory was undertaken by the ACT’s Office of Childcare in 2001/2002. As a result this Review recommended that there was no longer a big demand for occasional care and this resulted in changes to the funding that was made in January 2003. These changes allowed the service to offer a range of childcare, flexibility and choices for families.
This new model provides a smaller number of occasional care places, part time care, full time care, school holiday programme and preschool programme for 4-5 year olds as well as giving parents a choice between two sessions. Over the past five years the model has proved successful for families who find their work arrangements have changes. MOCCA is the only centre in Canberra that provides these choices to parents and this in itself provides a measure of stability for families particularly with their changing needs.