Why you should stop sending your kids to childcare


PARENTS and childcare centres have been set on a collision course over precious placements under the Federal Government's promise of free care, as centres scramble to survive.

Queensland parents are this week receiving letters advising them essential frontline workers in the health, retail, education and emergency services sectors will get priority care over others, including those who work from home, as they reshape their services to run on less funding.

Some centres have asked families where one parent is not working, or on a day off, to keep their children home, but maintain their placing so the centre can still receive their government payment.

Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page said while the package - in which the Government pays half a child's placing and parents pay nothing - had saved centres that had experienced mass cancellations, it had slashed earnings in half for other centres where children were still attending.

"I think they're in a really difficult spot, because the Government has said to all families you can all have free childcare, but they're only funding half the capacity and then they're leaving it to centres to decide who gets it," Ms Page said.

"So I think it's created a difficult dynamic between centres and families."

She said some parents had withdrawn their children by taking annual leave, thinking coronavirus was a short-term issue, but might now find their spot wasn't available.

Operators told The Courier-Mail they'd seen a massive drop in revenue and couldn't pay their casuals, with one reporting her weekly revenue had been slashed from $57,000 to $25,000.



"My costs are the same as if my centre was 100 per cent full at the present time, and now my revenue is about 40 to 45 per cent of what is was last week," she said.

She is planning to reduce operating hours from next week, creating problems for working parents who rely on late opening hours.

Federal Opposition childcare spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth said hundreds of centres had called her reporting they were significantly worse off.

"It is deeply concerning that the new policy has stripped some services of so much income they are having to cut back on opening hours, turn families away or sack early educators to try and survive," she said.

An Education Department spokeswoman said childcare services must prioritise care to essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and previously enrolled children to be eligible for the relief package.

There was no obligation to take on new families, increase hours of care or re-enrol withdrawn children, she said.

She said it was up to individual businesses to make any changes needed to ensure they could continue to provide care.

Meanwhile, operators can apply for a new "extenuating circumstances" payment from today.





Originally published as Why you should stop sending your kids to childcare

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