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Daycare Places Priority for Working Mums?


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#1 Miss 50s

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:20 AM

Interesting question came up on one of my FB pages this morning. Should working mum get priority over SAHM's for daycare places?

I think yes they should. I've read alot of threads on forums of mum's returning to work who are stressing out hoping to find a spot. I've never been in that position but can imagine how scary it would be if you needed the $$ and you might possibly have to delay your return to work. I am on Mat Leave atm and DS goes one day a week but I'd give that spot up to a working mum in a second if she needed it. Alot of people were saying it should be on a first come first served basis and that all children should have a chance at a daycare place and that it's not just about the parents.

Interested to hear what everyone else thinks?

#2 Frockme

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:25 AM

The priority is 1 kids at risk, 2 working, studying parents. Etc etc. theoretically they should be asking a sham/dad to leave if they are neither of the above and a working mum is trying to get in, and is next in line on the list! But I don't know if that ever happens. At least that's what the paperwork I signed said when we were using day care 8 years ago. I see the priorities haven't changed though.  original.gif

#3 missj

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:26 AM

Yes, they should.  Absolutely.


#4 Bluenomi

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:28 AM

Well my daycare only has kids of working mums or those on maternity leave with the younger child who will be working again soon so it's a moot point to me. The waiting list is huge and full of working mums so a SAHM wouldn't be able to get a place ven if they wanted one.

#5 imamumto3

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:28 AM

I think they should have priority over my kids because I am a sahm.  I told this to a day care director when I was looking around at places for DD & she told me that it did matter & I should get DD in quickly so our spot couldnt be taken.  Turned me right off the centre

#6 tothebeach

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:28 AM

They should and the law/priority rules reflects this.  Not sure whether it happens in practice though.

Though in your maternity leave example, I would not be expecting to give up my place as presumably you will be going back to work in a couple of months and you'll need a spot then.

#7 Agnodice the Feral

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:30 AM

Like all things that have restricted places and government funding, you have to make some sort of decision as to who gets priority. Childcare is well subsidized and as such, the government needs to ensure that places are given to those from whom some sort of contribution is received in return (please don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that SAHMs don't make a contribution; more that from the governments point of view, having people in the labour force and contributing to the economy and paying taxes is more financially beneficial).

Therefore I DO think it is important that funded places go to those who either need it (kids at risk are top of the list) followed then by kids who would otherwise not have a carer due to that carer working.

That being said, once a child has a place, I think its fair that that child not lose that place in favour of someone else.... I don't think you should ever have to 'give up' your spot for someone else.

Ultimately, I think the real question is why do we not have enough childcare/early education places for all that want it, not only what the best was of apportioning that resource is.

#8 Georgie01

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:30 AM

The DEEWR priority ranking for waiting lists in approved childcare places is:

First Priority: a child at risk of serious abuse or neglect;
Second Priority: a child of a single parent who satisfies, or of parents who both satisfy, the work/training/study test under Section 14 of the 'A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999' ;
Third Priority: any other child.

Centres can ask lower priority children to vacate places to make way for higher priority children IF certain conditions are met. It's hard for centres to keep track of the work/training/study status of parents though so it's fairly unusual for centres to ask for places to be vacated on that basis.


#9 Miss 50s

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:31 AM

QUOTE (tothebeach @ 23/02/2012, 10:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They should and the law/priority rules reflects this.  Not sure whether it happens in practice though.

Though in your maternity leave example, I would not be expecting to give up my place as presumably you will be going back to work in a couple of months and you'll need a spot then.


My case is a bit different. We've moved and it doesn't look like I'll be going back to the same job. So DS is in daycare in a different area than we were before. If we still lived where we did then I prob would be returning to work and I wouldn't give up my spot.

#10 boatiebabe

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:31 AM

The day care group my children went to has priority for working parents over sah parents.

I think it's disadvantaged or at risk children first, working parents second, and sahp get what days are left.

That seems about okay to me.



#11 ~nikki~

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:32 AM

Can I just ask how much it does cost to put a child in day care 1 day a week if your not  working ? we are going to have a very small age gap and DH suggested DD go one day a week.

#12 Studybug

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:35 AM

QUOTE (Malaya @ 23/02/2012, 10:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The priority is 1 kids at risk, 2 working, studying parents. Etc etc. theoretically they should be asking a sham/dad to leave if they are neither of the above and a working mum is trying to get in, and is next in line on the list! But I don't know if that ever happens. At least that's what the paperwork I signed said when we were using day care 8 years ago. I see the priorities haven't changed though.  original.gif



The priority listing was explained to me as only being taken into consideration when on the waiting list, not that if someone who is priority 1 or 2 gets to take the place of someone already in the centre who's a prirority 3.  I was also told in the instance of priority 1, some centres would rather break the rules of staff/child ratios to accept the child into care then refuse them a spot when they're being abused/neglected.

So yes, the regulations actually outline that working mothers do get priority over SAHP in accessing child care, provided the child of the SAHP is not given priority 1 status.

eta out of curiousity, who as a studying or working parent would give their child/ren's spot to a priority 1 child?  (not proving a point, genuinely curious)

Edited by Studybug, 23 February 2012 - 10:41 AM.


#13 Miss 50s

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:36 AM

QUOTE (~nikki~ @ 23/02/2012, 10:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can I just ask how much it does cost to put a child in day care 1 day a week if your not  working ? we are going to have a very small age gap and DH suggested DD go one day a week.


Nikki I'm on Mat leave so I still get the 50% rebate out of pocket (we don't qualify for the other one). I'm not too sure if the 50% is eligible to parents who don't work?? I'd be interested to know. My D/C charges $95 a day.

#14 lozoodle

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:37 AM

Yes, and they do.

But the thing is its not really something they govern that closely.

I think the general priority goes - kids at risk are first priority, then working parents, then everyone else.

#15 Frockme

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:39 AM

Nikki - From abut $85/ day in my area and that's the govt one. Private can go over $100/ day. Before all rebates etc.

Edited by Malaya, 23 February 2012 - 10:40 AM.


#16 Boys Rock

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:40 AM

Our centre has on the enrolment form the deewr requirements of priority of access. You have to sign to say that you understand them and the centre can give thirty days notice to vacate your spot if you are non working or can change your days etc

#17 ~nikki~

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:40 AM

Thanks miss 50 :-)



#18 Fluster

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:41 AM

Can someone please explain to me why children who are at serious risk are being left in their current, unhealthy home environment?  Under current guidelines, at what point is the child taken and placed into care?

Anyway, to answer the question, working parents should get priority. I work from home and only use vacation care.  Several times the centre has been close to capacity and on each occasion, I have advised them that I am happy to have DS at home if a working parent needs a place.  During the 2011 floods several staff were unable to travel and as such, I kept DS at home.

#19 happygurl06

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:48 AM

When I first put DD into child are I needed full time, they asked a SAHM to change her day do I could get in, she did do quite happily.  I was very happy they had the policy that children at risk and of working studying mums get the days they need if already taken by a SAHM with no real need for that particular day.  They don't do it if the SAHM is volunteering or doing patent helper duties in that day.

#20 FeralSingleMum

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:53 AM

I use daycare 2 days a week for my youngest DS who turned 2 today. DS1 goes to school 2 days a week.

I use it because my husband is FIFO and we moved to WA from QLD. We left behind all our family and friends so I don't have anybody to take over if I need a break. DH works away 3 weeks so for my sanity I use daycare but would give up my childs place if another child needs the place more.

#21 Guest_tigerdog_*

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:58 AM

They do anyway in a roundabout way, if you aren't working or doing study to meet Centrelink's activity test you don't get any rebate (I guess you could pay full-fee though).

#22 paddyboo

Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:06 AM

QUOTE (Georgie01 @ 23/02/2012, 11:30 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The DEEWR priority ranking for waiting lists in approved childcare places is:

First Priority: a child at risk of serious abuse or neglect;
Second Priority: a child of a single parent who satisfies, or of parents who both satisfy, the work/training/study test under Section 14 of the 'A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999' ;
Third Priority: any other child.

Centres can ask lower priority children to vacate places to make way for higher priority children IF certain conditions are met. It's hard for centres to keep track of the work/training/study status of parents though so it's fairly unusual for centres to ask for places to be vacated on that basis.


This is our centre's policy

#23 Futureself

Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:14 AM

Yes, they should. I understand the Government priority regulations only account for 1. At risk children and then Single working carers. I think it should go further and add Parents seeking care due to carers working, not just single carers. I know some centres have this but it's not a regulation so they don't have to.

I also agree with PP that really, focus should be on why there are not enough places for anyone that needs one and the Govt should be funding the building of more centres in key inner city areas where there's currently waiting lists 3 years long. It's unacceptable.

I'm currently working out whether I need to be adding my fetus to a waiting list about the same time as I book the Hospital from what I've heard. Even though I'm planning 12-15 months off work. That's how bad things are in 'family' areas close to the city.

#24 Fluster

Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:25 AM

QUOTE (*Shabadoo* @ 23/02/2012, 10:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A complicated question, but to try and answer it as simply as possible...It's all done on a case-by-case basis. 'At serious risk' can mean any number of things. Plus, it's not as though there are a surplus of good foster homes available, so those that are available go to the kids in the worst situations (i.e. children in immediate danger as opposed to those being at serious risk).

Yes, it should be better, but hey, until child protection becomes a vote-winner, there won't be much change.



Thank-you for taking the time to reply.  It just seems so incredibly sad that a child's situation can be so desperate that they are safer in an institution (of sorts) than at home.

#25 Bunsen the feral

Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:33 AM

Yes, they should be a priority - but really the question should be why is demand not being met?

I'm in the centre of Sydney - hardly a struggling area - and have only just secured a pre-school place for DS who will start FYOS next year. I'm not the only SAHP in this situation, a shortage of preschool places is putting increasing pressure on long daycare at least in my area.




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