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Under 2 childcare?

By 20 January 2014 18

Hello,

Who can tell me if they or someone they know is on a waiting list for child care in Canberra?

Would love to hear from you as to how long you have been waiting, what your stories are etc

it would be good to talk to people to hear what they think about the current wait and their situations / solutions.

 

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18 Responses to Under 2 childcare?
#1
Bosworth3:03 pm, 20 Jan 14

My situtation is that childcare has cost me many tens of thousands of dollars.

even though the Govt paid two-thirds of the cost!

And the staff get paid almost minumum wage.

#2
PickedANickname3:04 pm, 20 Jan 14

I can give you a story about being on a list for 6 months for just one day of care for a 12 month old. I was on the list with three preferred centers who I called every few weeks until the date came that I needed that spot. Out of desperation, I downloaded the entire list of centres for the ACT from the mychild.gov.au website. I called 28 places until I was taken pity on, and given a spot. I drive 30 minutes out of my way to use this spot.

#3
astrojax3:05 pm, 20 Jan 14

pop your name down on as many centres’ waiting lists from which you’d feel comfortable accepting a place were it to be offered, then continue to chase at regular intervals [few months]. of course, exploit any opportunities you may have with centres associated with your or your partner’s workplace.

also, contact family daycare spaces (operating from people’s homes) and cross your fingers.

i think many centres try to arrange their places from the start of the calendar year and then again mid-year, so if you’re not in now it may take some time.

good luck!

#4
tiliqua3:34 pm, 20 Jan 14

We were on a waiting list for 18 months, checking in every couple of months, kept getting told “no problem, you’ll have a place”. Return to work is getting closer, and then the centre tells us there’s “no chance as we’ve had a lot of siblings enrol and they get preference”.

Being complete noobs at this parenting thing, we took them at their word and didn’t put our name down anywhere else and are now screwed…

#5
pepmeup3:46 pm, 20 Jan 14

we were on waiting lists for over 24 months, two of the places we were preferred, ended up going with Au pair, that has its pros and cons. We are still on 2 waiting lists that we put our son on 5 months before he was born, he is now 2 years and 2 months old.

Because of the new quota system brought in under the rudd gov Centres need a 1 staff to 3 child ratio for children under 3 years old. doing the math on cost of wages to cover this it is close to impossible to make money, so centres don’t actually make money until children reach 3 when the ratio changes to 1 and 5. This is also why it is easier to find a place for a child over 3yo.

staff cost including wage, super and work cover $30/h child care 9 hours a day, 3 children pay $300 that covers 10 hours pay, them you have to cover lunch and other breaks, plus rent power and insurance, there is no way I would run a centre

#6
Inforequest6:29 pm, 20 Jan 14

WOW 2 YEARS YOU WERE WAITING !! that is ridiculous !

people should not be allowed to bump you for siblings. a booking should be a booking !!

Another question for you… how much would you be willing to pay for a good service for you child?
and I mean a good service, not just a number to play in a sand pit!

#7
Hosinator8:25 pm, 20 Jan 14

My wife pee’d on a stick, got the positive sign and a week later we registered the tadpole at 15 different places around town. We called 8 of those centres every month to keep our name on the list and paid deposits at 3 of them. We only received a placement at 1 of those centres in November 2013. Our daughter was 25 months old when we received the offer.
So we’d been on waiting lists for close to three years and still only received one offer. Thankfully it was at our preferred centre and we couldn’t be happier that she received the placement.

Inforequest said :

Another question for you… how much would you be willing to pay for a good service for you child?
and I mean a good service, not just a number to play in a sand pit!

With regards to your question, I’d be willing to pay $200 a day, but realistically with the cost of living, the $100 a day we are paying will stretch the budget all the way and we are two EL1′s with a “modest” $350k mortgage. Granted my wife is currently on maternity leave with our second child, but even with her at work fulltime, it’s going to stretch us.

First off, define “good”. The centre we are at is fantastic and I can see why all the parents who have kids their rave about how wonderful it is, however I’d be willing to pay a bit more to start my child at 7:30 or 7:20am. Currently her start time is 7:45am, and I prefer to be at work early in the morning so I can leave early in the afternoon to spend some time with my kids.

#8
spiderinsider9:42 pm, 20 Jan 14

pepmeup said :

Because of the new quota system brought in under the rudd gov Centres need a 1 staff to 3 child ratio for children under 3 years old. doing the math on cost of wages to cover this it is close to impossible to make money, so centres don’t actually make money until children reach 3 when the ratio changes to 1 and 5. This is also why it is easier to find a place for a child over 3yo.

I think you’ll find the ratio is 1:4 for under 2s, 1:5 for 2-3 year olds and 1:11 for 3+ year olds (see http://www.careforkids.com.au/articlesv2/article.asp?ID=127 – also on the mychild website but that’s down at the moment). Not sure (ie can’t be bothered) to do the arithmetic for how this works out for wages, but I know that most centres’ wages cost nearly their entire budget.

Personally, I would happily pay a bit more to make sure the carers had higher wages. If you think about it, even $100 a day for a place open for 10 hours a day equals parents paying $10 per hour. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

I have to say that we didn’t have too many problems. This was in 2011/12 and I don’t think things have changed too much. We put our name down at four places when 20 weeks pregnant, got offered places at three of them – including the one that was our first choice – at the beginning of the following year, when our child was 8 months old (which was when I wanted to go back to work), so roughly a year later. We were only looking for two days a week which might have helped, but three of the four places were good or excellent – they weren’t baby gaols or anything.

#9
Growling Ferret7:12 am, 21 Jan 14

We were on 10 waiting lists, calling monthly, then weekly as the wife was due back at work in a month.

Then a new centre opened, we got a spot.

The centre was poorly managed, so we kept calling our preferred daycare centre and was offered two places when the oldest was 3… Best move we could have made.

As for siblings getting priority, the absolutely should – its more convenient for the parent, helps the youngest settle in with a friend/sibling. Should a parent have to do drop offs to 3 different centres because they could not get 3 spots in one centre?

#10
Hosinator10:11 am, 21 Jan 14

I agree that siblings should be given preference. Could think of nothing worse than having to drop off kids at two different centres. Providing a status of where you are on the list would be good, you are 100th on the list but please remember not all parents accept a place and we expect 10 spots to open up. Set the expectation.

#11
sepi10:14 am, 21 Jan 14

The sibling preference is a good idea. But even with that we had to accept places for our second and third child in January, even tho going back to work was not until later in the year.

Also I wanted a child already at the centre to get an extra day – it never happened until Janaury rolled around – even as an existing customer they could get us another day until someone left, and no one left. =

The smaller, better centres are very hard to get into, and even as existing customers it is hard to pick up days or add new kids.

#12
Mothy10:54 am, 21 Jan 14

You’re allowed to have your preferred center, sure, but putting your name down only there and nowhere else is planning to fail.

I saw someone comment that a “booking is a booking” – putting your name down is NOT a booking. It is expressing a wish to attend that center.

Most, if not all, centers will give preference to siblings (rightly so, as a parent that has to do a drop off at two centres will consolidate ASAP – if you don’t accept their sibling, they’ll take the child you do have out when a spot becomes available elsewhere).

Centers also need to juggle days – not everyone is Monday-Friday, 9-5, one size does not fit all – and this can mean they’re looking for someone on the list who’s preferences or flexibility matches the availability they have.

On timing: your timetable for when you plan to return to work is just that, yours.

There’s a logical reason everyone keeps talking about January as the month offers of care come out – the older kids in the center will be leaving to start school, so space becomes available in the pre-school rooms. Toddlers already enrolled at that center move up to pre-school, making room in the toddler rooms. A couple of babies move up to the toddlers rooms from the babies room and MAYBE a space becomes available in the toddler rooms or the babies room.

Oh, and one last – if you get a place, and you like it, as a courtesy contact the other centers you had your name down at and let them know you can come off the list. Saves them time and money later.

#13
JazzyJess11:32 am, 21 Jan 14

My experience – it’s easier to get a full time spot than part time. I was on maybe 7 or 8 waiting lists when I was looking for a spot for Mr 8 when I returned to work part time. I did get a spot 2 days a week at a centre that left a lot to be desired. When I decided to go full time I had my pick of 3 really good centres. Not sure your location but a new centre has opened up in Gungahlin near the hardware store. Good luck!

#14
astrojax11:50 am, 21 Jan 14

Mothy said :

You’re allowed to have your preferred center, sure, but putting your name down only there and nowhere else is planning to fail.

I saw someone comment that a “booking is a booking” – putting your name down is NOT a booking. It is expressing a wish to attend that center.

Most, if not all, centers will give preference to siblings (rightly so, as a parent that has to do a drop off at two centres will consolidate ASAP – if you don’t accept their sibling, they’ll take the child you do have out when a spot becomes available elsewhere).

Centers also need to juggle days – not everyone is Monday-Friday, 9-5, one size does not fit all – and this can mean they’re looking for someone on the list who’s preferences or flexibility matches the availability they have.

On timing: your timetable for when you plan to return to work is just that, yours.

There’s a logical reason everyone keeps talking about January as the month offers of care come out – the older kids in the center will be leaving to start school, so space becomes available in the pre-school rooms. Toddlers already enrolled at that center move up to pre-school, making room in the toddler rooms. A couple of babies move up to the toddlers rooms from the babies room and MAYBE a space becomes available in the toddler rooms or the babies room.

Oh, and one last – if you get a place, and you like it, as a courtesy contact the other centers you had your name down at and let them know you can come off the list. Saves them time and money later.

centre… :)

#15
Mothy12:46 pm, 21 Jan 14

astrojax said :

centre… :)

I take your point, but the little red squiggly line in the text box was arguing with me and I was too tired to argue back.

#16
Inforequest7:00 pm, 21 Jan 14

Thank you for your comments.

I really do agree with the comments that $10 an hour is cheap for what they do for our children.

I think that is a very small price to pay for looking after our son!

The $10 per hour minus the $3 per hour reduction with the minimum govt rebate of $7500 per year.
(10hrs a day x 5 days x 48 weeks.)
So in fact is only $7 an hour.

There is a small percentage of the community who do not qualify at all for any further rebates, but for the masses there are still further rebates that make it even cheaper per hour.

Full rebates can cut the $7 per hour in half to only $3 – 3.50 per hour.

Paying staff above the wage most receive now is I believe very important.

I cannot think of any reason anybody would think it was a good idea to leave their kids with people who were underpaid for the work they do generally causing them to burn out, be resentful and not have the passion they need for this kind of work. So why not support the people who look after your best asset!

If they are paid well, given good support, good hours, low ratios they should and generally do in my experience repay that ten fold in loyalty and a real demonstration of pride and sense of ownership in the business.

These are the people I want looking after my child ! Someone who is passionate about their work and knows they are well compensated for their efforts.

So a centre that is charging another $1 or $2 per hour and can provide a better wage to their staff I believe is doing the right thing by all parties…. Staff, parents and most importantly the children they look after 50 hours a week !!

After that little rant… that brings the question around… what are we willing to pay… $1 an hour more… $2 and hour more…?

#17
lochness8:56 pm, 21 Jan 14

I started putting my name down at centres for a full time placement starting February 2014 when I was 6 weeks pregnant (July 2012). My child will be one in February. I selected centres close to home, on route to work and near my work. I maintained a ‘database’ of these centres and recorded everything as occasionally my name was deleted or dropped off at their end. I called every centre once a month to say I was still interested, and most importantly I said I was flexible with days and happy to accept whatever was available. I made sure I visited every centre. There were 18 centres in total that I had my name down. I haven’t been offered any full time places, but was offered several 2/3 day a week places some 19 months later.

My advice is to not be picky about the ‘small’ details like price, whether or not you like a centre until you actually get offered a place. A lot can change in 19 months especially in the childcare industry where staff turnover is so high.

#18
briggles3:10 pm, 23 Jan 14

Hi there, we moved to Canberra 3.5 years ago and I put my (then 5 month old) son’s name down at virtually every childcare centre in all of the ACT. Some places asked for “deposits” just to be placed on the waiting list…apparently our Chief Minister has never heard of this happening (hint Mrs. Gallagher: it happened AGAIN when I started putting my daughter’s name on waiting lists 2 years later…). Thankfully we were offered a place at the 11th hour just before I started work here. Full time places are easier to get as that’s what the childcare centres prefer and despite website advice you do need to put your name down everywhere you can AND harrass them to no end to get a spot. Also, while my daugher was accepted into the same centre as my son, I had to accept that place earlier than I would have liked, otherwise the place would have been offered to another family.

All these years later, I still have childcare centres ringing to check if I need a place for my now 4 year old boy…ummm…no…thanks…

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