On childcare services in Australia

This could be a short post:

THERE ISN’T ANY!

Here is a longer version:

Archie was born at the end of June, I want to be back at my desk at the beginning of April. It is now the end of November, I’ve already been looking for childcare facilities for him for 3 months. THREE months! So far he is on the waiting list at four centres, none of which can guarantee a place for him. I’m due to look at another two tomorrow, and have fired off emails to the UK equivalent of childminding, Family Day Care, again none of which can let me know if they will have a place for him. Which is making me nervous, as I have to start work when the Paid Parental Leave grant from the Government ends at the end of March. I can’t afford to extend my leave, we just don’t have the capacity for that in our budget.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had to book both our OB and my hospital bed immediately, as I wouldn’t get onto their lists otherwise. At six weeks pregnant, when most women are cocooned in secret glee, I was on the phone making appointments with my chosen care providers.

Now four months before I am due to start work, I am being told I’ve left it too late to get him a place at childcare. The Australian government bang on about getting mums back out and working, but HOW?! How am I supposed to go back to work to a job I love if I can’t get someone to look after our son? I’ve asked to work from home one day a week to make it easier, but until I have a conversation with work in February, I don’t know what day that will be.

It does not help that the ratio for 6 weeks – 2 year olds is changing down from 1:5 to 1:4 in January 2012, which is stuffing up childcare providers all over the country, and frustrating parents in the process. Hubs and I do not have the support network of family here to ask them to chip in and help with a day here and there, we will be relying on professional support. But we can’t find any.

I could vent about this at length, but honestly, I am simply too upset to.

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