TYPES OF CHILDCARE AVAILABLE
by Tash Hughes of
your child will go into childcare, you are faced with
deciding on the type of care best suited to your
circumstances. Following is an introductory list to the
various childcare options available in many parts of
care by family and friends, for fees or otherwise, as
well as people who have some children in their home
under private arrangements.
For those with
this option, this is often a good starting point for
childcare as both parents and child find it more
familiar. Depending on the arrangements, this can also
be the cheapest option such as when Grandparent care for
the child for free.
flexibility in times and generally no paperwork, so it
is easy to set up. However, unless the carer registers,
you will not be entitled to any Child Care Benefit (CCB)
on any fees charged.
No, this isn’t
some strange pagan ritual!
is a cheap and convenient means of getting some
childcare, especially for SAHMs. Basically, you look
after a friend’s child for a particular time and they
care for your child at a different time.
This is a great
way to get some time out, go to the gym or supermarket,
a meeting or even work. As long as both friends are
reliable, it works well; you know your child’s carer
beforehand and it is often easier to care for two
children of the same age than one.
doesn’t work as well if one child naps during the
allotted time and the other doesn’t.
Family Day Care
local councils, Family Day Care (FDC) involves the care
of young children in private homes by selected carers.
Each carer is limited to four preschoolers at a time and
is monitored by Council Staff.
Again, there is
flexibility in hours and days (depending on the carer’s
availability) and the home care is personal. Many carers
develop a close relationship with the children and
become like extended family. This is also a fairly cheap
option – in Victoria, it currently costs $3.70 per hour
prior to CCB deductions.
Each carer is
different and there are often waiting lists at the
council, so it may take a few weeks or months to find a
suitable carer for your needs. Illness or leave by your
carer can be disruptive, but often the council will find
a substitute carer for the period.
also run playgroups for carers to attend so that the
children experience larger groups as well.
is not the cheapest option, it has a lot of appeal in
some cases. For multiple children, it does become less
expensive per child and thus of more interest to some
There is the
convenience of not having to pack up the children and
take them anywhere else as the Nanny comes to you – an
au pair is even more convenient as she lives with you.
The children remain in a comfortable environment and
have the same sort of individual care they would have
with a parent at home.
particularly useful for parents with unusual working
hours or special requirements. Au pairs and some Nannies
may also do other chores during the day for you.
how you organise things, however, you will also need to
take into account holidays, superannuation, liability
and sick leave.
occasional care is a short-term arrangement where a
number of children are cared for in one centre by a
number of staff. Different regulations apply to
different locations and age groups, but all centres need
to be assessed and monitored by the Department of Humans
can be found at gyms, shopping centres, neighbourhood
houses/community centres and independent organizations.
Prices, hours, inclusions and so forth can vary widely
between centres so it can pay to look around.
term “occasional”, many such centres require bookings
and regular usage (eg book for a term at a time) whilst
some require a booking up to a week in advance. All
centres with booking systems are likely to expect
payment whether or not the child attended a booked
session. There are some occasional care centres without
bookings that are true to the term “occasional.”
Some full day
centres offer “occasional care” where they will take
non-regular children during absences.
to centre based care is that illness by the carer is
unlikely to prevent the centre being available to you as
per usual. It is also valuable for children needing more
social interactions and can provide more experiences and
activities than would be experienced in many homes.
Full day Centre
are now many childcare centres around Australia. Whether
your child is booked in for one or five days, it is
usually for the whole day. This is a professional
arrangement and these centres are businesses.
Centres are divided into rooms by age of the child, and
staff ratios vary between the rooms.
occasional care centres, there are the advantages of
fewer disruptions by staff illness but there are
disadvantages of staff leaving and changing. The
children get to play with a number of other children and
experience different activities.
If your child
is in care and you take holidays, what happens? In most
cases, you will still have to pay for the care in order
to reserve your spot for after the holidays. This would
not apply to some private or child swapping
arrangements, nor in genuine occasional care.
arrangements will continue during school holidays, but
some small community centres may not.
children can be cared for in a number of school holiday
programs run through schools, recreation centres and
various community centres.
Tash Hughes is
the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses
in preparing all written documentation and web site
content. Tash also writes parenting and business articles for
inclusion in newsletter and web sites.