Long day care is available all day or part-time at an early childhood centre. These centres can be community, government, non-profit or private organisations. They are often called child care centres or early learning centres. At these centres, large groups of children are cared for by several staff members. The children are usually split into groups by ages.
With family day care, a professional caregiver looks after the child in the carer's home. The number of children is usually limited by state or territory regulation. Family day care is also called home-based care. It can be full days, part-time or just occasional. These carers also offer overnight care -- making it a wonderful option for parents who are shift workers.
With in-home care, the services are provided by the carer in your own home rather than the caregiver's home. In-home childcare can be provided by a full-time or part-time nanny, or by an occasional babysitter. If the child or parent has an illness or disability, the family lives in a remote area, the family has three or more children, or other approved child care is not available for some other reason, you may be able to get care through the Australian Government In-home Care Program. You can find out the program from the MyChild hotline on 13 36 84.
As your children get older, you can find other types of childcare services, such as Out of School Hours Care (OSHC), for before and after school and sometimes during school holidays.
The best way to find a child care provider is through a personal recommendation. Ask family and friends who they have used to care for their children. Conduct phone interviews and narrow it down to three or four candidates, then schedule interviews in person. Be open and honest about what you expect from the carer. Watch them interact with your child to get an idea if they may be the right choice for your family. Get references from the carers you are considering and talk to several other families who have used their services.
Going back to work after having a baby is hard for most mothers. However, if you know you are leaving your baby in capable hands, it will make the process a whole lot easier.
When searching for a carer for your baby, look for approved carers -- organisations and individuals that have been trained, licensed and meet health and safety standards. These carers will have a certificate that they can show you to prove they are approved and licensed.
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