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Dodgy Childcare centers in Canberra.

By Saria - 26 January 2012 51

I have recently withdrawn my child from a certain childcare center in Canberra. I have since discovered that this childcare center has featured in a past article of the Canberra Times in relation to its negligent standards and abusive staff.

I have made a formal complaint with the relevant government bodies and today received a letter that basically said “There is nothing we can do, we are working together with management to improve the center.”)

This center was a very dirty, very badly managed place, where there was NO security (The front door to the center was a standard house screen door.)

Worst of all, there was only 2 childrens toilets in the whole place (with 50 odd kids) and NO development program to speak of. I often asked what my child had done/learnt each day and was answered with an uninterested grunt.

I have since met with several past childcare workers of the center, as well as other disgruntled parents. We all agree that this center is the worst we have ever seen.

So how exactly does the government compliance system work in the A.C.T? How can such places exist, even after many complaints have been made?

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Dodgy Childcare centers in Canberra.
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childcare_worker 6:27 pm 06 May 12

I have been working in the childcare industry since june 2005. And as an educator when I have had job interviews at some centres in the ACT I have been concern on how the centre operates and mostly these centres are private ones. I hvae been to a few centres where I have found the front door not locked at all and when I enter the centre i ended wondering around to fine a staff member. I could of been anyone.

I contacted licencing about my concerns and they were so rude to me

2604 9:41 pm 28 Jan 12

Jethro said :

2604 said :

Look at how long it took for the GDE to get built.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression the GDE was built by a private company operating under a contract with the government.

That’s right, a contract. A legal instrument which, if negotiated properly, gives the purchaser contract deadlines with remedies for late performance or non-performance, and, if managed competently, results in projects being completed on time.

Jethro 6:10 pm 28 Jan 12

2604 said :

Look at how long it took for the GDE to get built.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression the GDE was built by a private company operating under a contract with the government.

madamcholet 4:31 pm 28 Jan 12

Late comment and probably won’t make much impact, but been out of town for a break, (from work, from childcare etc etc).

There are some good points made here.

What’s not so good is the lecturing of one parent to another over whether children should be in childcare. The fact of the matter is that for most parents, even in well paid Canberra, we still need to make ends meet and childcare is a way of doing that. I hate the thought that my precious son is woken up four days a week and left with people we wouldn’t ordinarily know. I count ourselves lucky that we have totally lucked out with our two childcare providers – who are all fantastic. My son goes to family day care and long day care at a centre. What he doesn’t get from one, he gets from the other. He’s a clever young chap who has thrived in both environments even though he is not the sort of child who pushes himself forward unless totally sure.

I know in my heart of hearts that I would be a hopeless stay at home mum, as much as I miss him during the days I cannot be with him. I have to say that in looking at my son, I could not possibly subscribe to the statement from someone regarding the building of social skills. Most people are falling over themselves to tell us how well behaved, polite etc etc our son is. He is a very confident young man at the age of 3.

What needs to happen with childcare I don’t know. I do know that we pay 16k out of pocket for one child, 4 days a week…money well spent, but we still have to pay it before we get our only rebate – the 7500 tax return. Currently what we pay in total would just about cover fees for private school, which we can make our own choice about.

If you cancelled our childcare fees and let the government spend the 7500 in the provision of childcare as being discussed, it’s not really going to get us very far. According to my readings last week, the total childcare tax rebate paid does not add up to very much at all – a few hundred million.

Thank goodness we don’t have long to go with childcare and I can forget about it in a couple of years. I will however watch with much interest at what eventually happens.

sepi 3:16 pm 28 Jan 12

As a first step they could just cut out the middle man and give all the money they give parents for childcare straight to the existing centres.

It is insane that I have to claim ‘welfare’ money in order to pay for childcare to go to work at a professional career.

2604 1:36 pm 28 Jan 12

EvanJames said :

Sepi and JB make some excellent points. Having childcare set up like government primary schools would deal with so many of the current problems. Howard had a distinct preference to put cash into the pockets of individuals and we can see how that’s not working well. Taking that money back and having the government pool it and do what governments do best would see better outcomes for a wider number of people.

The handout mentality that Sepi speaks of concerns me too. Watching from the sidelines as people without children do, there’s soem really pernicious tendencies quietly growing in society. Socialising childcare would be better for most parents, kids, taxpayers, and the staff of these childcare centres also.

What do governments do best, Evan? They build a massive, ineffective bureaucracy and pay considerably more for services than those services cost in the marketplace. They get captured by unions and bullied into paying above-market wages to unionised employees who do less work than their private-sector counterparts and are almost impossible to fire.

What is the result? Public education, public transport, public hospitals are all a complete shambles. Look at how long it took for the GDE to get built. Look at public health and education in the ACT – hopeless despite receiving more taxpayer funding per head of population than almost any other jurisdiction. Look at the shambolic land supply situation in the ACT. That is what reliance upon government gets you.

With respect, JB’s proposal for socialised childcare makes about as much sense as the ACT Government building Stanhope’s pleasure dome. If the ACT Government doesn’t even have the capacity to adequately regulate private childcare centres, how can it hope to do well at the infinitely more complex task of operating centres itself?

EvanJames 10:55 am 28 Jan 12

johnboy said :

The funny thing is the idea of a nuclear family with the wife sitting at home looking after the kids is a pretty recent aberation in human affairs.

Having all the children in the village lumped in and looked after by a couple of locals was far more the norm while everyone hooked in to get the harvest in.

If anyone wants to pursue this, look up the seminal work on the topic, “Centuries of Childhood” by Philippe Aries. Childhood as a time of innocence and play with a caring parent hovering over is a very recent thing in our species’ history. It’s interesting stuff.

EvanJames 10:52 am 28 Jan 12

Sepi and JB make some excellent points. Having childcare set up like government primary schools would deal with so many of the current problems. Howard had a distinct preference to put cash into the pockets of individuals and we can see how that’s not working well. Taking that money back and having the government pool it and do what governments do best would see better outcomes for a wider number of people.

The handout mentality that Sepi speaks of concerns me too. Watching from the sidelines as people without children do, there’s soem really pernicious tendencies quietly growing in society. Socialising childcare would be better for most parents, kids, taxpayers, and the staff of these childcare centres also.

Tetranitrate 1:16 am 28 Jan 12

“Also a fair call. We online forum contributing types probably all fall into the trap of stating our opinions more as fact.”
and right on que….

2604 said :

Unfortunately government has proven spectacularly inept at operating things, including primary schools. The last thing it needs to do is to start buying up child care centres and trying to compete with private operators.

The problems in the OP aren’t just caused by a dodgy centre. They are also caused by lazy and/or ineffective government regulators. Fewer, more effective and properly enforced regulations would encourage more entrants into the sector.

2604 11:05 pm 27 Jan 12

johnboy said :

Same as primary school.

No priority, guaranteed places within catchment areas.

Not just government funded, government operated.

Unfortunately government has proven spectacularly inept at operating things, including primary schools. The last thing it needs to do is to start buying up child care centres and trying to compete with private operators.

The problems in the OP aren’t just caused by a dodgy centre. They are also caused by lazy and/or ineffective government regulators. Fewer, more effective and properly enforced regulations would encourage more entrants into the sector.

Jethro 6:17 pm 27 Jan 12

astrojax said :

Jethro said :

astrojax said :

Child care after 3 helps build social skills, before that age it does the opposite.

bollocks. astromonkey has had three, now four, days a week childcare for over a year now and he is not yet two and a half. on your assertion, jethro, he should have regressed social skills. as should his peers. yeah, right… where’s this from?

like most aspects of childcare, the parents’ engagement and home environment are a big factor. astromonkey went to a pretty average centre for the first 9-10 months, until we got him into a wonderful place in anu. but for all the first place’s faults, he coped, knew he had strong support and love at home and managed to allow his natural inquisitiveness and socialability flourish…

Astrojax… as I tried to make clear in my posts, this is an opinion I have developed based on my values and the research I have done, both formal and through conversations with other parents, primary school teachers and former childcare workers, BUT, I have also tried to make clear that this is simply my opinion and that as parents we make the decisions that feel right for us. I believe that the parent staying at home is better, you believe daycare is better. That is fine.

fair cop – i did come across more bolshie than i intended…

i’d love the financial resources to be a stay at home daddy with my daily-changing astromonkey, of course. i was just took umbrage at your blank assertion, is all. your other points have been well made – i meant to add that to my response but didn’t.

Also a fair call. We online forum contributing types probably all fall into the trap of stating our opinions more as fact.

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