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More childcare centres in Canberra please!

PickedANickname 16 July 2013 23

More of a whinge than anything. I know, shock and horror, a Canberran whinging.

I am looking for just one day a week in a childcare centre for my 12 month old. I have the other four days sorted with in home care but really wanted to have one day for her to socialise with other children and pick up a few germs to strengthen her immune system 🙂 I thought I was clever only wanting a Monday or a Friday.

We are now registered at 12 centres and all of them with a huge waiting list. One place told me they have a 18 month list for babies. So people, call and sign up at least 8 month prior to getting pregnant….

I don’t want to have to do family day care because little one is already getting an in home experience.

I plan to stop in and call every fortnight-ish but seriously childcare is so hard to get here.

Moar childcare please!  Moar!

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More childcare centres in Canberra please!
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YeahBuddy 2:24 pm 17 Jul 13

I hated childcare days ….

Now to try and be helpful: look for new centres that are being built or due to open in a few months, much easier to get a place than existing centres. Also, I have no idea where you are looking, but you could try broadening your search area, try for places that are near home, near work, on the way to work etc.

Lastly – prior comments are correct, families looking for more than 1 day a week will get in before you – they will be paying more so financially it is better for the centre to accept their 3-5 day applications than turn them down in favour of your one day application. Good luck!!

Tulip 2:05 pm 17 Jul 13

Wow! I’m pleased that you got that off your chest gungsuperstar. If you are having these issues at work then you need to point out the unfairness of it all to your employer rather than have a rant on thread that it not really about your topic – you should have started a new one. Not at all constructive to the conversation.

There are many reasons that people utilise a child care centre. One of which is, what the OP is doing and what I did (albeit from an older age), to give the children a little bit of independence and to learn to take direction from people that are not in their circle of family and friends. A bit like a trial run for when they go to school. So whilst some of us are able to take a “few years off” to raise the children we still use these centres to help ‘prepare’ children for what they will experience once they go to school.

FioBla 1:50 pm 17 Jul 13

Seeing that it is appropriate for people to comment on “HERE’S WHY I DON’T USE ACTION BUSES BECAUSE IT SUCKS” every time there is a thread about the local bus service:

e.g.:

wildturkeycanoe said :

Canberroid said :

wildturkeycanoe, given your commentary in this thread I’m curious to know how often you actually catch the bus. I’m guessing not very.

You guessed right. Every time I’ve contemplated, or actually caught the bus, I’ve found the routes make my trip a 2 or 3 bus and/or a 2 or 3 hour tour of Canberra.

I just need to let everyone know, that I don’t use childcare centres. NO KIDS OF THAT AGE YOU SEE.

Oh, I passed by one, and it was noisy.

thebrownstreak69 said :

I caught a bus once, it was late, dirty and had people on it who stank.

Because every thread is about me letting you know about me OK?

gungsuperstar 12:35 pm 17 Jul 13

bundah said :

Once again job well done Federal and State gummints!

IrishPete said :

joingler said :

The pay issue is real, but child care is so heavily subsidised and expensive already that increasing pay is going to have to be paid for by someone. Maybe we need to go back to the original idea, which was that a parent (dads, you too) looks after the child, and we subsidise the time off work until preschool age instead of the child care. Then at preschool age that parent can gradually return to work. Socialising can happen in playgroups.

Of course this idea doesn’t work so well if people who have never heard of overpopulation insist on having multiple children in a row, as they will end up out of the workforce for many years.

IP

bundah, I don’t know why you think is the failing of State and Federal Governments. Surely with the amount of money that the child care sector receives, as alluded to my IrishPete, and they assistance that parents receive, Governments are doing what they can for parents and then some.

I recognise the productivity benefits of getting parents back to work. I also recognise that child care is very expensive with ratios of, I think, about one carer to 4-5 children.

But the answer is not increased funding. Despite the money they already get, child care is a private enterprise, it is not a public service. Having children is a personal choice, deciding to work is a personal choice, using childcare instead of nannies/au pares (who I don’t believe are subsidised in the same way as child care) is a personal choice.

Despite recognising the benefits of returning to work, I have a hard time reconciling my hypocrisy in believing that child care is not a government responsibility. I’m constantly telling idiots that we don’t pay tax for things that benefit ourselves, we pay tax for things that benefit our country. But at some point it becomes too much, and when parents are already getting generous child care rebates but some parents want more funding for the sector… well, it’s starting to get too much.

I don’t have to make a choice about child care, because I made a choice not to have children. Because of this, I’m punished at work because my leave is not as flexible as parents, and because I spend winter doing their work because kids get sick in winter. I’m punished by government because I’m paying for, but am not eligible for middle-class welfare that people are eligible for because of personal choice. Damn, I even get punished every second time I fly somewhere and I have to move seats because mum wasn’t diligent enough to check in early enough to get a seat next to her kid.

Which is all fine – none of this is a big deal. It’s unfair, but I can live with it.

I do have a problem though that on top of the schools, public transport for school kids, and child care related welfare, there are suggestions that government has somehow failed in this area, or that funding to the sector should be further increased to allow yet more options, and more expensive options for those who made a personal choice to have children.

(Just to be clear, this isn’t a response to the OP, I know your whinge wasn’t about costs – my response is directed at a couple of the subsequent responders)
If you can’t take a few years off before they become school age; if you can’t afford to have children without generous welfare and child care subsidies – well I’d argue that you can’t afford children.

Genie 12:23 pm 17 Jul 13

The child care centre located in my work building doesn’t cater for parents looking for only 1 day a week.

The minimum is 2 days.

That being said only 10 positions are available to the general public the rest are allocated for those who work in the building. I believe at the moment there is about 27 staff on the waiting list for the under 12 months room and about the same again for the 12-24 months room. There is only 8 spots in each room. It’s a running joke that as soon as you find out you’re expecting you will need to put your name down.

Perhaps the Government should look at putting centres in ALL Government agency buildings.

Tulip 10:02 am 17 Jul 13

A few years back when I was looking for care for the children one of the local child care centres offered occassional care. This meant that you could call a week before the day you wanted and could book the child in for that day (or even for a minimum of 2 hours on that day) in the following week. I utilised this service on and off for about 12 months. Then when I needed ‘proper’ care, they knew me, they knew the children and we were quickly slotted in.

When we were ready to use the service ‘properly’ I also only wanted 1 day a week but I was flexible with which day. Can you be flexible?

Another thing to consider is this: The staff told me that 1 day a week is hard on the children. They even recommended that the minimum time they would suggest is 2 days a week. This allows the children to get into the routine better and relate to the other children better. As my daughter got closer and closer to school age she was struggling with a day a week for the reasons listed above. It had even got to the stage where the 5 day a week regulars had started to form their ‘cliques’ and she was excluded. We ended up withdrawing her from the October before she was due to start pre-school in the following February as we could share her care for that day around between me, my husband and my parents.

JazzyJess 9:45 am 17 Jul 13

There’s a new centre opening up in Gungahlin that’s taking enrolments and another in Macgregor. Good luck!

Erg0 9:24 am 17 Jul 13

Unfortunately, child care has gone from being a service for people who are willing to pay for it to an essential tool of economic policy, and in the process the educators themselves have essentially been exploited. On top of that, there’s a serious discrepancy between the level of service that many parents expect and what they’re willing (or able) to pay for it.

There’s been a bit of a lag in the workers getting organised and responding to the changes with demands for decent wages, but it’s coming and it’s not going to be pretty. The whole industry is well overdue for a major correction, be it in wages or the nature of the service provided, because the current crop of dedicated professionals aren’t likely to stick with it indefinitely when they could be making more money working in a shop.

IrishPete 6:13 am 17 Jul 13

joingler said :

The problem is not a lack of centres. It is a lack of staff.

It takes a special kind of person to actually enjoy childcare. Would you want to be in charge of 50 babies/toddlers each day? The kids can’t walk, talk or toilet themselves. You are also in charge for keeping the place germ free due to the huge amount of health and safety requirements (and rightly so). On top of all that, you are meant to be engaging children and helping their development.

Now when you take into account all that, the pay is a lot less than teaching or nursing. You are also dealing with sick children nearly every day of the week (because there is always 1 child whose parents can’t be **** taking a day off work to care for their sick child). Why would you want to work in such a lousy job? Sure there are some who love it but they are incredibly rare. If the job was more attractive, more people would work in the industry which means more spots for children.

I do not work in the industry but do work for a company that runs childcare centres so do have some understanding of the problems in the industry.

I don’t think the ratios allow anyone to be in charge of 50 children. Not on their own anyway.

The pay issue is real, but child care is so heavily subsidised and expensive already that increasing pay is going to have to be paid for by someone. Maybe we need to go back to the original idea, which was that a parent (dads, you too) looks after the child, and we subsidise the time off work until preschool age instead of the child care. Then at preschool age that parent can gradually return to work. Socialising can happen in playgroups.

Of course this idea doesn’t work so well if people who have never heard of overpopulation insist on having multiple children in a row, as they will end up out of the workforce for many years.

IP

screaming banshee 6:12 am 17 Jul 13

Your uphill battle is likely due to you only wanting 1 day per week. Have you looked into play schools?

IrishPete 6:07 am 17 Jul 13

gentoopenguin said :

I’ve been on lists since I was 5 months pregnant – we are looking to start our little one when he hits 14 months (January 2015). Some places at the time refused to put me on their wait list cause they were already full up. I now have a list of centres that I call monthly to say that I’m still interested so nobody bumps me off. We still won’t have any clue though if we get a spot until November. We have no Plan B because, well, there is no Plan B. I have to go back to work.

Rather than getting every parent to put their names on lists and then ring the centres regularly (a practice they encourage), couldn’t there be an easier way to do this? How about a centralised childcare wait list, where you say what area you’re looking for childcare and when? Centres could then just pick names off the list as positions become available.

This would also make lists more transparent and stop dodgy practices like taking “deposits” of $50-100 from desperate parents to go on wait lists they never have a chance of getting to the top of.

Surely Plan B is for you or the father/partner to stay off work and look after the child?

IP

joingler 10:39 pm 16 Jul 13

The problem is not a lack of centres. It is a lack of staff.

It takes a special kind of person to actually enjoy childcare. Would you want to be in charge of 50 babies/toddlers each day? The kids can’t walk, talk or toilet themselves. You are also in charge for keeping the place germ free due to the huge amount of health and safety requirements (and rightly so). On top of all that, you are meant to be engaging children and helping their development.

Now when you take into account all that, the pay is a lot less than teaching or nursing. You are also dealing with sick children nearly every day of the week (because there is always 1 child whose parents can’t be **** taking a day off work to care for their sick child). Why would you want to work in such a lousy job? Sure there are some who love it but they are incredibly rare. If the job was more attractive, more people would work in the industry which means more spots for children.

I do not work in the industry but do work for a company that runs childcare centres so do have some understanding of the problems in the industry.

dpm 9:07 pm 16 Jul 13

It seems regardless of who wins the election, there may be a few extra places in Canberra childcare centres later in the year..

bundah 7:06 pm 16 Jul 13

I think you’ll find that child care is in crisis throughout Australia.

According to a new survey three in every four long-day care centres in Australia’s capital cities do not have vacancies for babies and two-thirds do not have places left for toddlers.

Once again job well done Federal and State gummints!

dungfungus 6:37 pm 16 Jul 13

If you think this is a difficult task, try getting even respite care for a high dependency aged care person.
The CT reoported that there was a crisis in aged care and I can confirm that they are correct.

PickedANickname 6:34 pm 16 Jul 13

Oh is that the problem? The crims are taking all the childcare places???!?!!?!?

Anyways, I have been looking at the mychild.gov.au website and it lists all these vacancies! No wonder the statistics report all of these available places. Either the centres don’t report real vacancies or the government does not update or both.

For example I called this centre today. Huge wait list. But the website shows perfect for me vacancies. http://ifp.mychild.gov.au/ChildCareService/Provider.aspx/18519/

Annoying!

A_Cog 6:00 pm 16 Jul 13

And while we’re at this wish-fulfillment stage of getting holding pens for our little darlings, please expand the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

PickedANickname 5:48 pm 16 Jul 13

Good luck to you too. The centres just don’t want to know you on the phone. The only positive interactions I have had is using guerilla tactics of dropping in without an appointment.

gentoopenguin 5:39 pm 16 Jul 13

I should add…good luck in your search! 🙂

gentoopenguin 5:38 pm 16 Jul 13

I’ve been on lists since I was 5 months pregnant – we are looking to start our little one when he hits 14 months (January 2015). Some places at the time refused to put me on their wait list cause they were already full up. I now have a list of centres that I call monthly to say that I’m still interested so nobody bumps me off. We still won’t have any clue though if we get a spot until November. We have no Plan B because, well, there is no Plan B. I have to go back to work.

Rather than getting every parent to put their names on lists and then ring the centres regularly (a practice they encourage), couldn’t there be an easier way to do this? How about a centralised childcare wait list, where you say what area you’re looking for childcare and when? Centres could then just pick names off the list as positions become available.

This would also make lists more transparent and stop dodgy practices like taking “deposits” of $50-100 from desperate parents to go on wait lists they never have a chance of getting to the top of.

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