Taking a look at Family Daycare
by Jo Comans

family daycareAs the dust settles on the ABC Learning Centres childcare crisis, parents with children just starting out in child care or already there are asking about the safety and security of their own childcare arrangements. Some tips from a childcare expert on just what to look out for.

Is it possible to find childcare that provides secure, ongoing care arrangements that can ease the stress and fear that so many parents needing childcare have experienced over the past few months? Which childcare to choose, what does each service offer and how stable will my future childcare be? Can I count on my childcare to be there? All questions worrying many families right now.

Consider the stability of family day care...

One option with a long history of delivering secure quality childcare and a national network of stable childcare arrangements is family day care - the formal home-based childcare service. Operating since 1975 with Federal government funding and legislation, family day care is regulated by the state government, operates under national childcare standards and is accredited to assure its quality by the Federal Government’s National Childcare Accreditation Council.

All of these formal government systems provide parents with the assurance that when their children go into family day care they are receiving a quality childcare experience.

In addition, the ongoing stability of your childcare is supported by the local family day care service which can assist in an emergency, during a family crisis or when relief care is needed. With an ongoing place in a family day care home, belonging to a local network, your child becomes familiar with nearby carers and the children in their care creating a broader base of childcare opportunities if needed.

Family day care provides the most flexible childcare in every state and territory across Australia. The scheme staff manages fee subsidies for parents to ensure that their childcare is affordable. With 320+ family day care schemes, around 12,000 registered carers and 100,000+ children in care, family day care is a top childcare choice.

The family day care experience...

Family day care is provided for small groups of children, aged from birth to 12 years, with one to one individualised attention to each child’s specific developmental and learning needs.

Each family day care home is part of a network of registered carers within a particular area. This network of family day care homes is serviced by the local family day care scheme – a team of childcare professionals whose job it is to recruit, train, monitor and support the selected childcare workers.

Specialised formal and on-the-job training and selection processes ensure that your carer is up-to-date with the latest early learning and child development practice. Family day care is provided as part of the Federal Government’s Office of Early Learning and Education which falls under the Education Ministry with a focus on early childhood education.

Because the family day care service can call on their network of registered carers in the local area it is capable of arranging flexible care tailored to your needs all year round - 7 days a week including weekends, on call care, before/after school and preschool, care for shift workers (e.g. nurses, hospitality workers, police etc ) and where possible overnight care. Brothers and sisters (from birth to 12 years) can be in care together in the one place. One of the loveliest and most natural parts of the family day care setting is the natural family groupings with the children of all ages to 12 years in care together.

Your family becomes part of the family day care network and your child’s care becomes the priority of the service.

It is not uncommon for a baby who commences their childcare experience in family day care to leave only when they go off to start high school - many with the same carer – and often with the same children – a family experience through childhood in quality childcare.

International early childhood research tells us of the importance of the early years of our children’s learning and development. The quality and stability of our children’s childcare experience is critical to ensuring that the child’s early learning is holistic and is focused on the individual child and their growth and development.

Recent research studies also tell us that stress impacts on this key period from infancy through the early years. The familiarity of the home environment, the small group size and the one on one caring within family day care all lend themselves to a softer and less stressful home to care transition and a warm and nurturing experience on a day to day basis.