Day care in limbo

FAMILY day care services claim to have been left short-changed by the Morrison government.

The federal government’s Business Continuity Payment package covers 50 per cent of all childcare fees and gets rid of gap charges for parents, and was meant to tide childcare services and educators over until parents return to work after the Covid-19 shutdown.

But Family Day Care WA said its members were losing up to 80 per cent of their income because the previous childcare subsidy and parent gap fee comprised their income.

FDCWA chairperson Gabrielle Crosse said the damage to the family day care sector was huge. 

“Educators want to support the community, especially essential workers, but they are running out of money and they can’t get access to JobKeeper,” she said.

Ms Crosse said there was a lot of “fine print” attached to JobKeeper and the requirements kept changing so the window for day care services to apply for the payments was getting smaller.

She said family day care services were different to normal childcare; they offered flexibility such as overnight and weekend care.  

“Which is why a lot of essential workers rely on these services,” she said. “The package brought in has support for childcare centres, but does not account for family day care.”

Ms Crosse said many family day care centres had already closed and those still operating might only last another month because they had no income to sustain them.

The FDCWA has contacted both state and federal governments with their concerns, and possible solutions, but had not received a response.

by DEANNA CORRIERI

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