A checklist for child care

Child care... there are a lot of things to consider and arrange before enrolling your child in a child care service.

By Melissa Grant

The new year is a popular time for parents to enrol their children in child care.

Mums and dads may be going back to work or study, need occasional care or want their child to start spending time in an educational setting.

Whatever the reason, there is a lot to consider when you have decided to put your little one in child care.

Firstly, you need to determine what kind of care is appropriate for your circumstances.

Should you enrol your child in a long day care centre, find a family day care service or consider hiring a nanny?

The answer will depend on how many hours of care you require, your child’s needs and, perhaps, your financial situation.

Then there’s the process of finding a suitable child care option and applying for the child care subsidy.

When arranging care for your child, here’s what you should consider:

– How many hours of care do you need?

– Do you want your child cared for at a centre or in a home environment?

– Do you need care that’s close to home or work? What options are there in the area?

– What are the quality ratings of the child care services you are considering? You can check the quality ratings at the Starting Blocks website https://www.startingblocks.gov.au/find-child-care

– Do your preferred options have waitlists? Are there spots on the days you require care for? How early can you drop your child off and how late can you pick them up?

– How much will it cost? Are you eligible for the Child Care Subsidy? Providers will be able to advise you of their fees and you’ll need to check how much child care subsidy you are eligible for.

– Is your child up to date with their immunisations? To get the child care subsidy, your child must meet immunisation requirements.

– Have you submitted your child care subsidy claim with Centrelink? Be sure to do this early as it can take time to process. The government pays the subsidy directly to your child care provider to reduce the fees you pay.

– What will you have to pack when you send your child to child care? Does the service provide nappies and food? How many changes of clothes do they recommend?

For more information about the child care subsidy, visit https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/child-care-subsidy