How many children can I have in care?

Each Family Day Care Educator may have a maximum of four preschool children in care at any time. They may also have three primary school aged children (under 13yrs) in their care as well. This means a Family Day Care Educator may, at any one time, have seven children in care… with no more than four of them being preschool-aged.

Do my own children counts in those numbers?

Yes. Your own children do you count within these ratios because you are still responsible for their care and well-being. A child is no longer considered once they have turned 13.

What education do I need?

Educators are required by regulation to hold a number of certificates:

  • Certificate III or above in children’s services or early education (If you do not hold this certificate, you must be enrolled and actively working toward it)
  • Emergency Asthma Management
  • First aid management of anaphylaxis
  • First aid level two… Including CPR

If you are going to supply food to the children you also need a food-handling certificate.

Do I need a Working With Children Check (WWCC)?

Each person who resides in your home that is 18yrs or older needs to have a Working With Children Check and a police check that has been issued within six months of starting as a Family Day Care Educator. The Educators’ WWCC needs to be that of an Employee, not a volunteer. Other adult residents can have the volunteer WWCC.

Can I be family Day care Educator When English is not my first language?

Of course! Our Australian culture is a magnificent blend of cultures from around the world. Any parent would be delighted to have their young child exposed to different languages and different cultural experiences. There is however, an expectation that you can communicate, both verbally and in writing, in English.

Can I be a Family Day Care Educator when I live in a rented property?

Yes. The regulations do state however, that you need to have written authority from the owner of the property to run a Family Day Care residence. There will be some changes that may be required to the property that the owner will need to authorise.

I live in a unit, can I still be a Family Day Care Educator?

Living in a unit, does not preclude you from being able to be a Family Day Care Educator. There is a minimum space requirement for the children to play in, but most family living rooms, even smaller unit family living rooms, will provide enough space.

What does my partner need to know?

The decision to become a Family Day Care Educator is not a solitary one. Every adult, every person in your home needs to be consulted to support your decision. This is because there will be times when other household residents will come home and there will still be children in care. They need to be aware that this may happen and they need to be able to accept this and even enjoy it. Also, there will be some changes that will be required around the rest of the house. There may be toys still scattered about house when they come home. As your administrative body, Happy Campers would need to interview other members of your household to make sure that they welcome this opportunity in their home.

I am a single mum, can I still be a Family Day Care Educator?

Actually, there are many benefits of doing this business if you are a single mother. You do not have to incur childcare costs for your own children four hours that you’re working. You do not need to consider the concerns or opinions as any other adult in the house with regard to the way that you run your business.

I have my parents living with me, does that make a difference?

No of course not, this is absolutely not a problem. There are many families in our community that don’t have grandparents as close as they would like. So by having some older family members in the home, you are adding to the experiences, the relationships, the joy and the love in your facility.

Remembering of course that every adult over the age of 18 that resides in your home needs to have a working with children check and a police check done within six months prior to you starting your Family Day Care business.

What Alterations will I need to make to my home?

It is recognised by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, that a Family Day Care residence is not purpose-built space. It therefore has very different safety requirements from that of a long day care centre. Naturally, the children’s safety is still paramount. For the children’s safety, a home safety check will need to be conducted. For a comprehensive list of changes that might be needed you will need to have a Happy Campers co-ordinator come out to your property and perform the safety check.
The most common alterations are:
• Moving knives and poisons out of children’s reach
• Moving medications to a secure childproof space
• Insure the safety and stability of fencing and gates and ensure that they are child proof
• But the big ticket item, the item that most people are concerned about, is the glass.

What is the rule with regard to windows? Does it need to be safety glass?

Windows do need to be safe. Any window that is lower than 75cm from the ground needs to be either safety glass, or laminated with a safety film to stop it from shattering. This safety film can be purchased and applied yourself, however Happy Campers would always recommend that you have it professionally installed by glazier.

Do I need a lot of toys?

You do need some toys, but not a massive amount of toys. You would be surprised how much fun children can have with regular household items. If you want to increase the number of toys you have, second-hand toys from garage sales or second-hand stores are fantastic. Provided of course,  that they are in good repair and age-appropriate.

Do I need a car that is big enough to fit all the children in?

This is entirely up to you. Some Educators highly value being able to take the children on driving excursions. There are many destinations which hold fantastic educational value for children. Even a simple trip to the supermarket, Bunnings, Playgroup, library or the local shopping centre can hold a huge amount of delight for children in care. If you do choose to take the children on driving excursions, your car will need a seven seater that is fully fitted out with four age appropriate car seats with the five-point safety harness.

However, you can still take the children out without having to go on driving excursions.  Regularly there are destinations that you can take the children out to that are within walking distance of your home: Playgrounds, local shops etc. you may even choose not to do these, and that’s fine. There are many parents and value the additional safety that comes with staying in the one that secure location.

Do I need to have a special room for the children to sleep in?

No, not at all. The regulations do require that you provide the children in your care with adequate rest and sleep. All Family Day Care Educators need to have suitable number of cot sized mattresses and/or porta cots for the children to use at rest time. You also need to provide separate sets of sheets and pillows slips for each child and they must be laundered each week. When you set up your residence for rest time, this can be done in any room of the house. Most Educators use the family lounge room with curtains drawn and all electronic equipment turned off.

How much of the house do I have to use for my business?

You can use as little or as much of your home as you like for the business. There are minimum space requirements, but in most cases the family lounge room will be enough. Some Educators use the bedrooms as sleeping spaces or play spaces, but rarely is the master bedroom used.

The children do need to have access to an outdoor play space also. A covered veranda or deck is considered outdoor space.

But I have a new house and new furniture, won't the children wreck it?

I find this funny question. Let me put it this way, if you had your children in your new house with your new furniture, would you let them wreck it? Of course not! The children in your care learn the rules in your house as your own children would. They would probably be the same rules that they would have in their own home. Do you possibly imagine that the children coming into your care in your home would be permitted to jump on the couch, scribble on the walls or throw food in their own home? Of course not. Your home, your rules, become an extension of what they already have at home.

What about my dog?

Yes, a Family Day Care Educator is still permitted to own a dog. The dog must be in good health, well cared for, fully immunised, and well fed. The children cannot have access to the dog’s water or food bowls nor have access to the dog’s kennel or sleeping spaces. The children and the dog should be for the most part, kept completely separate. If the dog is good with children, it may be permitted to have small amount of time with the children with very good supervision for a specific purpose. Eg. Grooming, bathing or patting.

Do I have to provide food for the children?

This is completely optional. Some Educators provide a shelf space in the fridge for children’s lunchboxes. There are healthy food guidelines which need to be adhered to, and it is the Educators’ role to ensure that parents provide healthy and adequate food for lunch.

There are many benefits however, for providing food for the children in your care. Firstly you can ensure that the children to get a healthy meal and adequate food. There are  many parents who prefer to have their children fed by the Educator when in care. Knowing that their child has had a healthy lunch means that a hard working mum can throw together something quick and easy at the end of the day and know that the child’s dietary requirements have been covered. Also a Family Day Care Educator that provides food for the family, can charge more for this service. This increases your businesses income.

And Educator that provides food for the children in care needs to have a food handlers certificate.

Do I have to provide nappies for the children?

Again this is a service which is completely optional for each Educator. It is an added bonus for parents not to have to worry about packing nappies and wipes for their child(ren). And again the more you provide the more you can charge your service and the better your businesses income will be.

How do I charge the parents for my services?

As an Educator, you do not charge the parents, Happy Campers, as the service provider, does this for you. Family Day Care fees and charges are deregulated. Happy Campers will help you find the value for the service you are providing, and will charge the parents accordingly. This will depend on what you are providing, your education, competition in the area and your open hours.

How much do I get paid?

You may have up to 4 pre-schoolers in care, but if you have preschool children of your own at home, this limits the number of clients you can have.

How much we charge a parent and therefore how much we pay you, depends on many factors and needs to be determined on an individual basis. Many things are considered when determining pay: experience, education, environment, provision of food and nappies, location and demand for care. Contact us to discuss this if you want a closer estimate of your particular expectations.

But here are a few examples:

  1. If you have one preschool child at home you only want to work four days a week, and we pay $60 a day for your services. Your business income is $720 per week ($60 x 3 children x 4days).
  2. If you have no preschool children at home, you work five days a week, and we pay  $70 for a day of child care your business income is $1400 per week ($70 x 4 children x 5 days).

These numbers are of course, your business’ gross income, costs and taxation does need to come out. We will discuss these later.

I need a stable income. Businesses don’t have stable incomes, do they?

All your bookings are permanent and full day… just like a child care centre. You will have the same children in care each week. For Example: A mother might book her two children in with you for Tuesdays and Thursdays… those two children will be with you EVERY Tuesday and Thursday. So once you have filled all your places, your income is set.

Even though you are full, you will continue to get enquiries for places. We keep a record of these on our web based waiting list. A parent needs to give us two weeks cancellation time. When a parent cancels, we have two weeks to call the waiting list and find a new client.

Do the families still get government entitlements? Child Care Subsidy (CCS)?

Happy Campers is an authorised childcare provider and when you are one of our registered Educators, the families that use your service will be entitled to receive the government’s Child Care Subsidy (Known as CCS). These government entitlements are paid directly to Happy Campers as a fee reduction.

How do I get paid?

Each week, you will be required to submit to Happy Campers, the attendance records for the children in your care. You are not responsible for collecting money from the parents. Once all the calculations are done for the care provided, Happy Campers invoices the parents. You will be paid by Happy Campers for the care you have provided.