When planning for a family another important consideration is child care - do you want your child care to be close to home or close to work, what are the wait times like and how much will it cost?

Waiting lists

If you think you’ll be going back to work after the baby is born, start researching child care facilities as soon as possible, maybe as soon as you fall pregnant or even sooner. This is because there’s a shortage of child care services in some areas.

Finding high quality affordable child care in a convenient location can be a challenging and frustrating task. Some child care facilities have waiting lists of over 12 months, particularly in the baby rooms. Here are some tips to help you secure a child care spot

  • Do your research and narrow your selection to a few centres. It’s worth going to visit the centre to assess whether it’s suitable for your needs.
  • Some centres may charge a wait list fee with no guarantee of a spot so it’s best to check the wait policy with each centre.
  • Regularly contact the centres you’re interested in, because in some cases, you may not hear from the centre at all and you may not get the space you want when you need it.
  • If you return to work, you may also need to negotiate alternative start and finishing times depending on the centre opening and closing times, so you can drop off and pick up your child in time.

Costs of childcare

Costs of childcare can vary from provider, state and the type of childcare. Some providers charge a minimum hourly or daily rate and may include things such as nappies and food. Other places may require you to provide some items.

The government may also provide a subsidy for childcare known as the childcare benefit and childcare rebate. There are eligibility requirements to receive the childcare benefit and rebate.

When developing your new budget, you’ll need to factor this as an additional expense. Do your research and make contact with the childcare facilities you are interested in. Make sure you understand how much they charge and what’s included.

More information on the childcare, fees and more can be found on the government’s Department of Human Services and My Child websites.