1) What made you decide to open up a Family Day Care?
I decided to open my own Family Day Care (FDC) with encouragement from some of the mothers from my local Mothersí Group. They were discussing returning to work and needed care. They preferred an FDC over an LDC (long day care) if it was possible. I was thinking about heading back to work but wasnít 100% on returning to a LDC with a young son. With me working, Iíd still be paying for care, and so I didnít think it would be worth it.
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After some discussion with my husband and my parents I knew setting up my own FDC was the right choice. I have a unique set up, as I am running my FDC from my parentsí house. They both work full time, and their house location, set up and environment benefited the parents and children I would be catering for, as our house is a bit tricky to get to and on the smaller side.
I had already worked in LDC for 8 years prior to having my son and knew what the workload was like, so I did have a good think about doing it on my own. In LDC you work with others during your day, so can bounce ideas off your co-workers. In FDC youíre on your own, in a wayÖmost of the time.
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2) What were your start-up costs?
Start-up costs can depend on many factors: what safety measurements need to be undertaken at the house, resources & equipment you need for the children and household, any training/formal paperwork required.
I already had my Cert 3 and Diploma in Childrenís Services (you need to be working on or have your Cert 3 to start up and FDC), I needed to renew my First Aid Cert, my Working with Childrenís check and Police clearance. I also couldnít start without Public Liability insurance.
4) What's the best thing about running an FDC?
Being able to have my own son with me and having the privilege to care for othersí children. It worked out well as I had met a lot of new mums through my son and playgroups, and online mothersí groups, and had got to know a lot of them in person long before I had opened. It gave these parents a sense of security in leaving their child in care when they decided to go back to work, which meant they had one less thing to worry about. I just love watching children learn about the world around them, the discoveries they make and their laughterÖ I couldnít go a day without hearing that!
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5) What's the worst thing?
Sometimes it can be stressful doing things on your own with young ones but itís all Iíve ever known really. I like a challenge and it pushes me to do better for myself. Another thing is the lack of adult interaction, although the scheme I am registered with means help is always just a call away and visitors and outings are encouraged. I can talk a lot to parents at the end of the day because Iíve missed adult conversation!
6) What advice would you have for people who are thinking about setting up their own FDC?
If you have never worked in a childcare centre or with children before, it will be a shock to the system. But if itís something you are passionate about, then give it a go. Children love passionate people.
7) How much can you earn?
This depends on your daily rate, how many children you have in your care and how many days you work. There are also expenses of admin fees (with my scheme the parents pay), food, maintaining resources, etc.
My daily rate is $80 with an admin fee which starts at $15 for one day. ($80 is the average amount for FDCs at the moments)
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8) How did you decide which organisation to set up with?
I did a google search to find one whose philosophy fit with what I believed in. I then emailed some to get more information from them. I went with Eastern Region FDC Scheme. Initially they came out to see me and chat, and see what my environment was like, etc. I just felt comfortable talking to them and very supported every step of the way, which is how it should be.
9) How many children do you look after at a time?
I have four 0-4 year olds four days a week and can have three 5-12yr olds (after and before school care). I only have young children in care at this time as I have had no inquiries about before & after school care. You can only have 7 children all up. I currently have four children around the age of two, which is the same age as my son. Some people would think Iím crazy!
10) What sort of children are best suited to family daycare?
You can have all types of children in FDC but mainly a child that doesnít cope well in a large setting will get the most benefit out of FDC because it is a small setting. It all depends on what the parent believes is best for their child. Each child is different, so will react to situations differently. Itís all a bit of trial and error, as children can be unpredictable. As long as I - as an Educator - are meeting their individual needs and wants, a child should settle into the new environment.