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Child Care Centres – Who’s watching?

By notmuchtosay 18 April 2009 31

My child has been in full time daycare for the past year in a centre in Belconnen. The care is good, nothing I can complain about, and the staff are friendly and stable.

The centre was sold to some people who owned other centres around Canberra and Sydney around mid 2008. During Jan 2009 we were hit with a $7 a day fee increase, I guess thats ok, expenses change but come next month we get another $11 a day increase.

I will soon be paying $82 a day for childcare. They gave justifications for the increase but they were pretty weak, not worth going into here.

I did a ring around to some other centres in Canberra, and I couldnt find another that charged over $80 a day, Does anyone else pay over $80 a day?

Who governs these centres, from my investigations they are a small business so they can do what they like. 

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Child Care Centres – Who’s watching?
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canberra bureaucrat 9:42 pm 21 Apr 09

sepi said :

Govt pays various rebates to parents, when perhaps they should just subsidise the workers’ pay.

That is what they are effectively doing. See post at #12.

canberra bureaucrat 9:40 pm 21 Apr 09

notmuchtosay said :

Do centers get a kickback from the Government per child in their care?

No, at least not in the case I know. They give the money to parents via tax rebates and subsidies.

sepi 4:29 pm 20 Apr 09

700-800 a week for 2 kids.

The Brad 4:20 pm 20 Apr 09

notmuchtosay said :

at $700 to $800 a week hmmmm No. I WISH I could stay home and look after my child that would be perfect.

Except that it’s $350 to $400 a week.
Still expensive, but as you said, there’s no choice, as there’s no places free. You need to put a kid down on a waiting list about 2 months before conception.

notmuchtosay 3:34 pm 20 Apr 09

Do centers get a kickback from the Government per child in their care? Hence why some centers have forged documents for phantom children.
There is a lot of talk about carers being underpaid but I saw a job advert in last Wednesdays CT and ABC were paying $19-$24 per hour for carers, I have my own office and I don’t get much more than that.

chewy14 1:30 pm 20 Apr 09

Maybe this story should be linked to the McMansions thread.

sepi 1:08 pm 20 Apr 09

Times have changed, and many couples now have to both work in order to pay for a mortgage.

Childcare is a mess, and getting worse. Childcare workers are underpaid and undervalued, and turnover is huge.

Govt pays various rebates to parents, when perhaps they should just subsidise the workers’ pay.

Childcare is hideously expensive, and not worth paying for unless you yourself earn a decent income.

But when you think about the ratio of one staff member to three or four kids, that means three parents are paying for a full day’s wage for someone from 7,45 – 6.00, as well as a share of rent for a building, heating/cooling/cleaning etc, and often food/a cook as well.

notmuchtosay 12:25 pm 20 Apr 09

LOL! I got halfway through writing this and got distracted, I didn’t even realise I’d posted – small heart attack trying to remember what I had written and NOT proof read *phew*
Yes they do get food, Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea which I think is great, but that has always been provided prior to these fee increases. And 50% back each quarter is capped at $7500 I think, so I haven’t done the sums but its probably the same as the old 30% when all is said and done. What is really concerning is if you don’t like it you can’t pick up and go somewhere else, there are simply no places. Do we NEED childcare, well right now yes but if we have another child, at $700 to $800 a week hmmmm No. I WISH I could stay home and look after my child that would be perfect.

aidan 11:22 am 20 Apr 09

I don’t understand Governments. The preschool building in Giralang is empty now that the preschool has been integrated into the Primary school next-door. The P&C investigated setting up a childcare centre in the old preschool building and had got to the point of canvassing operators and lining up a community childcare provider who was enthusiastic about setting up there.

The building is almost tailor-made for childcare. Existing toilet facilities, two wings for littlies and older kids, a playground. Awesome.

All the Government had to do was say ok, sounds good. They kick a goal with almost no effort on their part. Did they do it? You can guess the answer .. they had a sham consultation when they had decided in advance to sell the place. They still haven’t done anything and it has been empty for over a year now.

Dumb, lazy and stupid.

So .. anyone with an interest in more childcare places near Giralang (convenient(ish) to Gungahlin too) send your MLA an email.

grunge_hippy 8:28 am 20 Apr 09

alot do. the first center I had my daughter at had such a high turnover of staff it was very discouraging. you didnt know who was going to be in the room one moment to the next.

vg 10:43 pm 19 Apr 09

Peachy said :

One of my friends was telling me today that she gets paid one dollar less an hour to do casual childcare work than she used to making coffee. High day rates aren’t justified when the staff are paid a pittance and aren’t trained, supported or valued.

Call me crazy, but if I was in a job where I wasn’t valued, trained or supported and could earn for less responsibility I would vote with my feet and quit

Peachy 9:42 pm 19 Apr 09

One of my friends was telling me today that she gets paid one dollar less an hour to do casual childcare work than she used to making coffee. High day rates aren’t justified when the staff are paid a pittance and aren’t trained, supported or valued.

vg 9:24 pm 19 Apr 09

The end question in child care is do you WANT or NEED your kids to go there. Childcare have made an industry of telling people that their kids will ‘lag socially’ (or add similiar excuse) if they aren’t in childcare. I never left my mother’s side until pre-school metaphorically speaking. Neither did most kids of my generation. We didn’t all turn out to be serial killers. That ‘social lagging’ is the biggest load of shit I’ve ever heard.

I appreciate childcare is the only option for many people but if you can afford the lowering of the household income for a few years sometimes (not every time though) if someone stays home it isn’t a bad thing

jmac 7:42 pm 19 Apr 09

sepi said :

One of the many stupid arguments against the Parlt Hse childcare centre was that it would be too expensive – at 75.00 a day. Shows how out of touch they are up there.

The PH child care centre is actually $90 a day…don’t know about anyone else but i think that is quite expensive…so am i out of touch?

I am currently doing my research for child care centres for my bub and my search so far has only led me to three…all very different prices and all very different atmospheres.

Child care is expensive and always will be unfortunately.

grunge_hippy 10:24 am 19 Apr 09

does anyone know what the new govt early childhood centres are charging for their day care? i put baby GH name down at isabella plains, but i am happy where she is until the end of the year when she goes to pre school.

would be interesting to see if they are cheaper…

$72 a day, including all food and supplies, and very happy with the centre. Young Master Berlina was recently moved to a centre closer to my work, and the previous centre was $65 a day. Both centres have given great care, and both have available places at the moment.

willo 11:11 pm 18 Apr 09

$440 a week for an under 3yo? I am sure glad my kids are way past this age that has gotta be a huge strain on the weekly budget.

Ernie 11:02 pm 18 Apr 09

Yep, we pay $88 per day and that includes all food and nappies. Goes down to $80 per day once they turn 3 and go into the other room. It was the only place we could get into.

nyssa76 10:17 pm 18 Apr 09

BB let me tell you that as a defence spouse of 3 school age children, having ‘time off’ to be with them during the holdiays is a good thing.

When I go into work to prepare for the following term, the teen goes to the movies or something and the youngest two tag along, watching videos or reading.

canberra bureaucrat 10:01 pm 18 Apr 09

Even not-for-profits can be pretty expensive. The key to the costs is the cost of staff, which is the vast majority of centre operating costs. The related factor is child:staff ratio. Some centres run a bit above the minimum, which is great for the kids and staff, but costs.

You will often see public debate saying there should be better ratios (i.e. less kids per staff member), we should pay staff more, etc, but without mention of who pays for this significant extra cost. Unions are good at this (always practical business people). What’s that you say? – “Government should pay”? As someone mentioned above they do via the tax rebate and various other things (50%, no small sum). But of course an economist will tell you that if you subsidise in this way, it increases “willingness to pay”, so at any price charged, there will be increased demand, and price goes up. There is evidence that supports this, showing that childcare rebates have all coincided with price increases. Given that the majority of operating costs are wages, I would contend that the government is essentially subsidising childcare staff wages. And both sides of politics at that – love the irony!

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