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How to Start Your Own Family Day Care
Do you like caring for children, but want to work from home?
Start your own family day care business and do both!
Child care is now one of Australia’s biggest and most important industries, with more than 1.1 million children attending child care services as of 2014. That’s a massive 39% increase in attendance since only 2008!
There has been rapid growth in the number of child care services to meet the growing demand from parents. The cost of child care has also increased significantly. Despite the growing number of places and increases in cost, many centre-based child care services still have long waiting lists.
Some parents are looking for alternatives. Family day care offers a number of advantages over traditional centre-based care, including more flexible hours and normally lower costs. As a result, this type of child care service has become a popular option with families.
Currently, centre-based child care providers make up 94% of all government approved services in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and the rest of Australia. Setting up your own Family Day Care business can be a way to offer parents home-based care as an alternative to centre-based care. At the same time, you can operate your own business, from home, working with children.
How do you get started?
Training and Qualifications for Family Day Care Educators
First make sure that you’re qualified.
The minimum qualification required to operate and work in your own family day care business is the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or equivalent. You don’t actually need to complete your training before you get started. You simply need to be enrolled and actively working towards your qualification. Of course, it is still best to complete your training as soon as possible!
You can also continue your training with diploma level qualifications like the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. This will help you develop additional skills like establishing a safe environment for children and how to facilitate your day care’s compliance with Australian regulations. It is not essential to run your own family day care service, but it will allow you to pursue jobs such as Family Day Care Coordinator in the future. Family Day Care Coordinators monitor, support and train other in-home care providers.
First aid is another skill that all educators and even assistants in family day care must have. You will complete the first aid unit HLTAID004 – Provide an emergency first aid response in an education and care setting as part of you Certificate III or Diploma qualification, but you also need additional training in anaphylaxis and emergency asthma management. These courses can be taken through any RTO in Australia like Australia Wide First Aid.
All these qualifications are sought after by the entire child care industry, not just in family day care. This means that you will have the flexibility to work in start your own family day care business OR work in a centre-based care service. Eventually you can even become a Family Day Care Coordinator or Child Care Centre Manager once you have experience and earn your diploma-level qualification.
Family Day Care Requirements and Regulations
When you start a Family Day Care business, you will be teaching and caring for children in your own home. Therefore your home needs to be checked for safety and suitability every year. Your home should have:
- • Indoor rooms that are well ventilated with natural light and a safe temperature
- • Outdoor areas enclosed with a barrier to keep children from leaving unsupervised
- • Glassed areas must be glazed or blocked to prevent injury from shattering
- • A first aid kit accessible to adults present
- • A telephone or any other immediate communication method to contact parents and emergency services
- • Additional precautions must be taken to remove potential hazards to children
- • Everyone 18 years or older who lives at your home must be fit and proper to be around children
While providing your services, you must make sure that:
- • You only care for a maximum of 7 children at a time, with a maximum of 4 children preschool age or under in the group
- • Children have enough supervision and are not left alone with visitors or leave your home without an authorised person
- • Children are not exposed to tobacco, illicit drugs or alcohol and have access to nutritious food and safe drinking water
- • Corporal punishment or other unreasonable discipline methods are not used
- • You follow sound health and hygiene practices
You must have policies, procedures and records, including:
- • Evacuation and medical emergency procedures
- • Records of each child’s enrolment, attendance and medication
- • Documentation of child assessments under your educational program
- • Log of all visitors to your home and any incidents, illnesses or injuries that happen
You can check if you have everything you need by downloading the official regulatory requirements for family day care.
How much is the salary of family day care operators?
Based on the latest Government reports, the median cost of having a child attend family day care for 50 hours a week is $375. That works out to between $7 and $8 per hour per child. Actual rates may vary from $6 to $10 depending on your location. This means if you have the maximum 7 children in your care for 50 hours per week you can gross approximately $2625 in salaries per week.
However! There are expenses to consider:
- • Administration costs
- •Bookkeeping & accounting fees
- • Cleaning & laundry
- • Maintenance
- • Electricity & gas
- • Home inspections by Family Day Care Coordinators
- • Insurance policies
- • Alterations of your home required to provide a safe environment for children
- • Nutritious food & drink
- • Nappies for babies and young children
- • Play equipment and other stimulating activities
- • Pest control
- • Rent (if you rent and a specific portion of your property is set aside for family day care activities)
- • Telephone & internet
- • Wages for relief educators
- • Professional development activities like workshops, conferences and seminars
- • Don’t forget, you need to pay yourself superannuation and factor in your sick days and holidays!
Plus, there are many other factors to think about. For example, some parents may require less than 50 hours per week of care. You may not feel comfortable caring for 7 children and choose to work with a smaller group. You may choose to only provide care on a part time basis to enjoy a better work-life balance.
However, starting your own family day care business is a great way to work from home, have more control over your work and hours, provide care the way you want to (within regulations) and still earn a comfortable income!
Where can I learn more about becoming a provider?
You can visit the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority to learn more on how you can be an approved provider.
If you need help setting up and running your own family day care service, check out Family Day Care Australia and ask about their services. You can also use the Care for Kids checklist to see what makes a good family day care.
Family day care is often the preferred option for parents who are looking for a less expensive care with more flexible hours. This means you can start your own family day care and provide essential care services from your own home instead of working in a centre-based service.
To do this, you need an early childhood qualification, an appropriate venue and proper systems to take of children. These will be used to approve your registration as a child care provider.
Australia needs a hand in educating its youngest citizens. This is one way you can help while also enjoying the benefits of running your own home business.
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