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Author Topic: $100 a day: the child care dilemma in Australia
Michelle
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posted 12 October 2005 02:58 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The cost of child care has passed the $100 a day mark – a price surge that could force many Australian mothers out of the workforce. Wages for child care workers, rent and a shortage of places are pushing fees up much more quickly than overall consumer prices, prompting the Federal Opposition to call on the Government to link the child care benefit to the cost of care.

Childcare Research and Resource Unit


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Walker
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posted 12 October 2005 03:14 AM      Profile for Walker     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hmm. Although not disagreeing with the main point that child care is out of control, $100 a day is not typical- more like the absolute upper limit for the whole of Australia.
I work for a local Council in an upper middle class Melbourne suburb and coincidentally just finished compiling a survey of all child care centres here. The average daily fee is $62.00.

And I had to laugh at this qoute:

"Jonathon Kruger, executive director of Childcare Associations Australia, said: "Unfortunately, quality costs. When you're talking about having children engaged, happy and wanting to go to child care - these things cost money."

This is the national body for private child care centres. When he refers to 'quality costs', he's talking about his latest BMW. The centres he represents are not in the least interested in the actual quality of children's programs.


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Suzette
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posted 12 October 2005 03:33 AM      Profile for Suzette     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hmmm. My sister sends her 3 year old daughter along to daycare three days per week. With the government subsidy -- which, if I understand correctly, is widely available -- she pays twenty-something dollars per week. She estimates that the subsidy she receives for these three days is one hundred dollars per week. So, the full fee is forty-something dollars a day... somewhat less than the $100 dollars quoted.

The daycare centres commented on in the article are in Bondi -- one of the higher rent areas in the most expensive city in the nation. Perhaps that's a contributing factor in this report?

Further on the quote Walker repeated above -- kids couldn't care less if the furniture and fittings are imported from Europe. My niece's daycare is not that well-funded, but not exactly poverty-stricken, either. It's a pretty average suburban kindy. What keeps the kids there engaged are the sandpit, the dress-ups in the form of hand-me-down clothes, the painting and other low-cost activities. But more than that, what the kids find truly engaging are the childcare workers, who I should point out are underpaid, undervalued, and -- to put a fine point on it -- treated like shit by their industrial award. They work extremely hard for what little they get simply because they are dedicated professionals. Doesn't stop them burning out, though.

[ 12 October 2005: Message edited by: Suzette ]


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Walker
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posted 12 October 2005 03:44 AM      Profile for Walker     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Agreed Suzette. The only difference is that in Victoria and ACT CC workers just got a mild pay increase (though phased in over 18 months!), which other states incl. Qld will be going for in the near future. Still shit pay, but better.

In a workshop I did last night to a group of child care workers, I just finished telling them they should be paid $1,000,000 a year for the influence they have on a child's life outcomes - for better or worse - then as luck would have it the cleaner walked past the window. I then pointed out that some of them (the untrained ones) get paid less than the cleaner.

Shocking.


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Suzette
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posted 12 October 2005 06:37 AM      Profile for Suzette     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
...which ties in nicely with those recent threads about cleaning as a means of an income and why it's perhaps not so bad after all.
From: Pig City | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Walker
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Babbler # 7819

posted 12 October 2005 09:57 PM      Profile for Walker     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, as long as the mop doesn't need to be taken to the toilet, or start talking back to you....
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chubbybear
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posted 12 October 2005 10:25 PM      Profile for chubbybear        Edit/Delete Post
My beloved spouse is a professional early childhood education worker, and she is brilliant. If you had to pay to full costs of a professional day care centre which is dedicated to enhancing the cognitive, social and intellectual skills of your child, you would pay a lot more than $100 Canadian. As it is, even with subisidies, my wife is terribly underpaid. Good, professional, certified child care is expensive, and it should be, because a good day care doesn't plot the kids in front of TV or ignore them - they learn and are stimulated withing the best and safest environments possible.
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Walker
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posted 13 October 2005 10:23 AM      Profile for Walker     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Absolutely agree. I just hope that the notorious Eddy Groves doesn't deliver on his promise to return to his homeland Canada and roll out his awful childcare conglomerate.

Nasty piece of work.


From: Not Canada | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
blake 3:17
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posted 13 October 2005 03:55 PM      Profile for blake 3:17     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
double post

[ 13 October 2005: Message edited by: blake 3:17 ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
blake 3:17
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posted 13 October 2005 03:57 PM      Profile for blake 3:17     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The figures are totally credible, just really really disgusting. T.O. ain't much better -- $60 a day is pretty typical.

quote:
According to a government survey of child care fees, the average weekly fee paid by parents using private long-day-care centres is now $208, up from $154 in 1997. For community-run centres, the average weekly cost has risen from $162 to $211. In central Sydney, rates are far higher.

Could my Australian friends explain "long-day-care" and "community-run"?

For some context on Eddie Groves and ABC:

quote:
Millions milked
November 17, 2003


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Claims of mismanagement threaten the rapidly expanding child-care industry, writes James Kirby.

BRW vol. 25 no. 44

Australia's child-care boom is turning ugly. Behind the painted smiles and cuddly brand names, this $3 billion service industry is at war with itself. A BRW investigation reveals that big profits are drawing free-wheeling entrepreneurs into the industry. But bitter industrial disputes and claims of miserable operating conditions are creating a potent mix that will change the business comprehensively. Child-care tycoon Eddie Groves, of ABC Learning Centres, has begun an unprecedented defamation action against the biggest union in child care, the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU), and the sector is still reeling from a dispute in Western Australia, where police were called to intervene in a protest by child-care workers.


Source.


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Walker
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posted 14 October 2005 02:56 AM      Profile for Walker     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hi Blake. OK, you asked for it!

In Aus, child care is a generic term that could include:

Occasional care (a couple of hours a day, normally used for recreational purposes and/or socialising for children who don't attend other forms of care/education);

Family Day Care (all-day care for up to 6 children in the carer's home; carers are recruited, monitored and supported by a local council or non-profit agency);

Long day care (all-day care, usu. 7.00am to 6.00pm, what many people would call child care, in purpose-built or adapted premises, licensed and regulated by state governments and the fees are subsidised by the Federal govt).

And then there's outside school hours care (before and after) and school vacation programs, for which parents can also receive Fed. subsidies).

Now, LDC is operated by local councils, community and church groups, non-profit agencies, parent management committees (community-run), as well as private individuals and companies.

This is where Eddy Groves comes in. This man is slime. He runs his child care concerns in the same way as his other companies- he sees it all in terms of profit and loss. He has no concern whatsoever for quality programs- eg. where the great majority of centres contract cleaners to come in overnight and thoroughly clean the whole centre, he requires that his child care workers do ALL the cleaning themselves- WHILE they are supposedly caring for the children. There are many stories about how badly he treats his workers, and how he completely disregards the quality of the children's programs in favour of the company- eg. he moves staff around his centres at the drop of a hat, rather than providing the consistency of carers for the children and families.
I could go on. Just Google his name and you'll see for yourself.
OF course, the worst thing is this man is VERY close to being a billionaire, and all off the public purse. You see, the govt. has a sliding scale of subsidy for all parents who use long day care. So every centre is effectively paid for through our taxes. And when you have 400+ centres throughout Aus and rapidly growing, well the figures are astonishing. He makes no bones about it at all. In fact, he is close to stitching up a deal to open private for-profit schools in Queensland. (Sorry Suzette, but this just feeds my prejudice about Qld being a wild-west state where almost anything goes. Did you know that ALL of the major child care corporations have their roots in QLD?)

Answer your question?


From: Not Canada | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged

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