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tell me about family day care..how to find a good one?

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12 replies to this topic

#1 InOmniaParatus

Posted 28 March 2019 - 12:07 PM

Im considering family day care...with a lot of hesitation. I always felt CC were better, more regulated...but I know a lot of people feel differently so I am trying to be open minded.

I did a search for family day care near me and so many came up. How does one know which one is good? Sure I can call them and enquire and see what feel I get but how can I check/ get more reassurance?

How well are they regulated compared to CC?

#2 seayork2002

Posted 28 March 2019 - 12:20 PM

I can only say to visit - we looked at 2 and 3 child cares - added - I am sure you are intending to visit but what I meant was we just went by feeling when we visted.

As in did it feel right

Edited by seayork2002, 28 March 2019 - 12:22 PM.

#3 Wonderstruck

Posted 28 March 2019 - 06:38 PM

Personally, I cant imagine managing 4 children on my own without back-up. This is why I prefer centre based based care. More carers etc, purpose fit environment etc.

They are still regulated like child care centres under the same framework.

Agree with the above, visit, when there ask questions - you'll get a gut feel. Ask on local facebook groups and ask other local mums.

Go with what suits your family and what you want.

We found a good smaller center that suited my daughter well. It's old and not fancy but I don't need that.

Good luck:)

#4 girltribe4

Posted 03 April 2019 - 06:14 PM

I can't imagine managing 20+ children even with backup :rofl: I love my little group of 4 children a day , they really are family .

Visit as many FDC Educators as you can manage , they will all be different as its (mostly) their own business .
Decide how you feel about school drop offs and pick ups / outings / going in a car / walking / bringing your own food or if they do meals / pets they have and how much access children have to them .
I would certainly be asking if they have a pool or spa .
Here in SA we only have one Government run scheme and its very regulated , the other states have lots of private schemes some are amazing some are not.
You should be able to check where the schemes are on the National Quality standard on the ACECQA website I think ?? "working towards" is not great :no2:

Visit local childcare centres also and you really will know when you see it which one is going to be right for you and your child.

#5 blimkybill

Posted 03 April 2019 - 09:07 PM

I chose family day care for my children. I think I had one I was never really happy with (and moved on quickly) plus a couple of long term gems. I also did family day care myself for 3 years, at a time when 5 children under 5 was the ratio. I personally love family day care.

To find a carer who is right for you, you may find there is a family day care facebook page for your area. This is a way people find suitable vacancies in my area. Also many carers run their own facebook pages with photos, philosophy, program etc displayed.

All family day carers are managed and supervised by a scheme in their area. The scheme makes sure they meet all the standards - which are the same standards as centres. However of course family day carers may have a different approach to meeting standards to centres. You can talk to scheme staff about how they ensure carers meet standards.

You can ask to meet carers and treat it a bit like an interview, that is totally acceptable.

I would go for someone whose manner with children is natural, warm and in tune with my own philosophy. Who can walk the walk not just talk the talk - in terms of being warm and responsive and playful with children. Someone with a good range of genuinely interesting activities. Someone with lots of common sense about safety too.

Family Day carers have much better ratios than centres. In a centre babies get 1:4 but 2 year olds get 1:8 and three year olds get 1:11. I visit child care centres all over the place for a living and I have seen many where children (especially 2-3 year olds) are really suffering due to not enough adults, or under responsive adults focused on cleaning or crowd control. Of course it is not always like that and there are many wonderful settings. I have also read that my area has more centres who don't do well in accreditation than other states so I could be seeing more than the usual number of not really adequate centres.

By contrast though, family day carers have only 4 children per carer. This is (IMO) extremely manageable and there is no reason a child would not get responsive attention. Many prefer not to take babies, or if they do, they can only have one baby under 12 months.

One of the biggest problems with FDC is what happens if the carer is sick or on holiday.  Some schemes have relief carer arrangements to make sure this does not adversely impact on families' ability to work.

#6 Wonderstruck

Posted 04 April 2019 - 05:53 AM

Great points here. Key theme is visit and ask which is good in both situations.

There are centers that exceeded industry standards for staff numbers. Ours is one of them. There are large centers and small. Also good and bad - the same applies to FDC.

In the end you need to work out what is best for your family. As the PP said the carer absence or illness could cause an issue for you or your child may find a big centre overwhelming and prefer FDC  

For us it was a small centre with a caring staff and allied health and nice open outside spaces. I loved that our centre has 56 kids but it's on a 4.5 acre block with 4 other centers owned by the same company and that her centre is split into 2 buildings so only 18 in her building (18 months to 3) and and 38 preschoolers in another building. Ours is a rather unique set up but there are lots of smaller family run centres if that's what you feel will work. There is also FDC scheme run through the centre too.

It really is tough as there are positives and negatives for both depending on your needs and expectations.

Good luck:)

#7 miriams

Posted 21 April 2019 - 08:16 PM

My mum did it for about 8 years whilst we were in our teens/ late primary and always had long waiting lists.

1. She was very emotionally stable and stoic. I think those are really important qualities (which I don't necessarily share :cry: ) So it meant she wasn't flaky, she was firm but kind. I can't remember her ever bailing out on a parent.

2. She lived near the school. She was a music teacher previously and afterwards too. The kids loved the music.

3. She charged a fair bit more than the rate recommended by the local scheme which she thought was ridiculously low. This meant more job satisfaction than sticking with  the recommended rates and burning out quickly. Also it meant she tended to attract a 'better quality' of client who were not just looking for the cheapest bargain.

4. She never had more than four kids at one time. Her philosophy was always she should only look after the same number of children as  she would feel comfortable having in her own family. How many can they have now? 20 really? She never drove them anywhere. Any errands were either a  short walk to the local town or out of hours.

Edited by miriams, 21 April 2019 - 08:17 PM.

#8 QuirkyMum

Posted 22 April 2019 - 07:02 PM

Please Google carer's name and FDC name and also carer's address (separately) and see what comes up.
One place we looked at ( and heard good things about it and it was run for many many years!) was very cheap but looked ok ( no toys though, just four kids sitting outside colouring in). Lady said she won't take kids who don't behave or don't sleep or stay in bed ( because she needed to get work done).
When we left I noticed that there were two laundry delivery vans in the carport.
When I googled the address - laundry business and it didn't look like a small side business. Website featured her as the business owner. I think kids she looked after were side business.
I saw huge steam press and tables with piles of linen in the house but did think much of it at the time.
Few years later I talked to some random people at the playground who loved their family day care ( same place!) because it was slightly more than 1/3 of the cost of child care centre in the area. I asked about their daughter and she was bored there. I wondered how much attention those kids were getting. It creeped me out tbh.
On a brighter note, some lovely older ladies will only take a couple of kids or even just one child. Better for a younger or very shy and clingy child but can get boring as kids are getting older.

#9 laridae

Posted 22 April 2019 - 07:44 PM

View Postblimkybill, on 03 April 2019 - 09:07 PM, said:

Family Day carers have much better ratios than centres. In a centre babies get 1:4 but 2 year olds get 1:8 and three year olds get 1:11. I visit child care centres all over the place for a living and I have seen many where children (especially 2-3 year olds) are really suffering due to not enough adults
It's 1:5 for kids between 2-3. Not 1:8. https://www.acecqa.g...to-child-ratios
Ours had 1:4 in the babies room (under 1 - they only had 1 carer), 3:12 in the 1-2 room, 2:10 in the 2-3.5 room and 2:20 in the 3.5+ room. Plus they had a couple of floaters for breaks/backup.
Family daycarers don't have extras to cover breaks or backup.

#10 Prancer is coming

Posted 22 April 2019 - 07:48 PM

I would start with word of mouth. Or people from google that get a good review.

From there I would ask lots of questions to the carer.  Stuff that it important to you, whether it be what food they are given, structure for the day, discipline, use of screens, school readiness schools and the like.  

Then I would ask a few more specific things to the carer such as how many kids she cares for and ages, does she care for her own kids either all the time or in school holidays, does she take other kids in school holidays, when does she have holidays and is there back up care available if you need it at this time and where does she do excursions/run errands?  A family day carer at our school often brings her kids to assembly or athletics carnivals (which I think is a bit cheeky, particularly the end of year assembly which is all speeches and awards and quite boring).  

Personally, given no one else is seeing the daily interactions between the carer and children, I would want to feel really comfortable with the person and trust them, but I am not sure I could do this without a pre existing relationship with the person, or that a person I trust had with them.

#11 Meepy

Posted 22 April 2019 - 09:14 PM

I went through the local council. They put us on a waiting list and we were offered a place when it came up, which I was happy with and took.

#12 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 22 April 2019 - 09:56 PM

View Postblimkybill, on 03 April 2019 - 09:07 PM, said:

Family Day carers have much better ratios than centres. In a centre babies get 1:4 but 2 year olds get 1:8 and three year olds get 1:11.

That's not necessarily correct, depending on the state you are in.

The link posted above to the ACECQA ratios goes into the finer details.

According to that link FDC can have 1:7 kids with no more than 4 children preschool age or under. So saying FDC can only have 4 therefore the ratio is better is not technically correct, although the carer may choose to only have 4 kids.

Edited by WannabeMasterchef, 22 April 2019 - 10:14 PM.

#13 Mothers Groupie

Posted 22 April 2019 - 10:14 PM

LDC family here (and very happy).

We looked at some FDCs - so many had the carers own children in the group. That would be a no from me. I’d look for one with a more neutral carer.

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