Family day care in Brisbane
One of the most important tasks as a parent of young Brisbane kids is to find a trusted carer or service to look after your children when you need to work or study. Family day care is one option available, with over 1000 providers in Brisbane alone.
What is family day care?
Family day care is a childcare service where children are looked after in the carer’s own house. Each carer is allowed to have up to four children who aren’t yet at school, and seven children altogether. They must meet the National Quality Framework that applies to childcare centres, and must have or be working towards a Certificate III qualification. A family day carer must also have first aid training and their house will be checked for safety before being allowed to operate. They are required to hold a blue card, as must any other adult living in the house. If eligible, you will receive Childcare Benefit and Childcare Rebate if your Brisbane kid attends a registered family day care.
Pros of family day care
- Home-based care – Younger children in particular may find it easier to settle into another home environment rather than that of a centre.
- Better ratios – The maximum ratio at a family day care will be one adult to seven children. This ratio can only occur after school hours or on school holidays, due to the limit of four children not at school per carer. The rest of the time, a family day care will have a maximum of four children to one adult. This is the same ratio as a day care centre has for children under two, with ratios rising for older children.
- Flexibility – At a childcare centre, you will pay for the entire day even if you only use a few hours. Some family day cares will charge by the hour, meaning you can use them for partial days if needed. They may also have more flexible opening hours than a centre with set hours, though some family day cares will have shorter hours than centres. If you have school-aged siblings, they may be able to join your younger child after school and on holidays if needed.
- Opportunity to bond with one carer – Family day care allows you to choose the carer who you think will be the best fit for your Brisbane kid. If you opt for long day care, you can only choose the centre: carers may come and go without you having the opportunity to provide input.
- Fewer children – This means your child may be less likely to get sick. But while lower numbers may be a benefit for quieter children, an outgoing, social child may prefer to be in a larger centre with more playmates.
Cons of family day care
- Relying on one person – This is the major drawback to family day care: if your carer falls ill, takes holidays or quits altogether you have to arrange an alternative, sometimes at very short notice. You also must trust your carer as there is less day-to-day oversight compared to a centre with multiple staff and a Director.
- Spread of ages – This can be an advantage or a drawback. Although having children of different ages being cared for together may feel more like a family, an older child at a family day care where the other children are much younger may be better off in a setting where they can play with their peers.
Can you claim childcare benefits for family daycare?
Parents are eligible to the same Federal Government Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate subsidies as in other child care facilities.
Is family day care right for your Brisbane kids?
Ultimately whether family day care will suit your Brisbane kids depends a lot on their personality and that of the carer, your ability to arrange alternative care if needed and the options available in your area. Read through the pros and cons and make a list and see where you should begin your search. As with any type of care, it’s best to visit in advance and ensure you are comfortable with where your precious children will be spending some of their time. It’s a big decision for any family, but with multiple types of care available, hopefully every Brisbane kid can find somewhere that suits them.
Resources Family Day Care Association of Queensland (FDCAQ) – http://fdcqld.org/
A handy checklist to use when you start looking at family daycares in your area https://www.careforkids.com.au/child-care-articles/article/32/family-day-care-checklist
Queensland Government Family day care information – https://www.qld.gov.au/families/babies/childcare/types/pages/family.html