Australian childcare workers' plea: 'Don't just unenrol your children from childcare'

Young girl playing with educational toys
Young girl playing with educational toys Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 Early childhood workers are urging parents not to unenrol their children from daycare, in order to preserve teachers' jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"There is so much uncertainty in the world at the moment and so many people are losing their jobs," the post, which is being shared by centres around Australia, reads. "Please don't add your child's educators to that list."

Clarifying that workers are not advocating for parents to send their kids to daycare if they feel uncomfortable doing so, it continues, "What I'm saying is, don't unenrol them."

Educators are asking parents to speak to their centre first, noting that there are a number of measures in place from the government to help families "and to stop centres from going bankrupt".

"But these measures are only helpful if the children stay enrolled".

The post outlines that in circumstances where a parent has lost their job, or had their wages cut, families can log onto their MyGov page and apply for temporary financial hardship. "This means that the government will pay your childcare fees in FULL for 13 weeks," she notes.

"The government has also committed to paying the CCS portion of the fees in the event that the centres do go in to lock down." What this means is that centres can continue to pay educators and their rent. "It means that at the end of all of this, there will be centres to send your children to."

"I implore you," it continues."Please speak to your centre director and find out your options, BEFORE just pulling your children out."

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"It will make the world of difference to our sector."

The words have been shared by daycare centres around the state, with many struggling to stay open with falling attendance rates.

The Director of Insight Early Learning, Sam Day, confirmed this important message. 

"Children need consistency in these uncertain times and to our families we would say speak to us before you unenrol your children," he told Essential Baby.
"We are here to support them and you and we can help point you towards a range of options to support your care requirements."
Early Childhood Australia, the peak early childhood advocacy organisation, has called on more support from the government, noting that the sector is in a "state of crisis".

"The early childhood education and care sector (ECEC), along with the rest of the community, is concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 virus. It is already a significant challenge to the families, early childhood educators and providers of early childhood education and care services," they said in a statement.

"Early Childhood Australia (ECA) is advocating to the government, on behalf of the ECEC sector, and our plan is to identify information useful to early learning services, as you navigate these challenging circumstances and review your contingency plans."

On Thursday, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan released a statement relating to childcare and the impact of the coronavirus.

"The current expert medical advice is that the child care sector should remain open except where individual services have been directed to close by health authorities," he said. "The Government is aware of the challenges facing the Child Care sector because of reduced attendance. I am working with the sector to minimise the impact of COVID-19, and we already have implemented additional support arrangements."

"To support the sector, we have increased the number of days, up to 62, that a child care service will continue to receive the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) when a child is absent from care. The CCS covers up to 85 per cent of the daily costs of a child's care.

"Grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 are available for child care providers through the Community Child Care Special Circumstances Fund to help cover business costs, including wages, to ensure services impacted by COVID-19 can continue to operate.

"Families with financial difficulty can apply for funding through the ACCS (temporary financial hardship fund) to cover child care gap fees."

You can find more information on the Department of Education website.