02.Waiting list pain
Getting your child into quality LDC can take several years.
Sacha from SA suggests that “as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed, get on as many waiting lists as you can. I went on four, and none of the LDC centres had a spot available when I wanted to return to work. My child was 11 months old, and I’d been on the waiting lists for 18 months at that point.”
Finding LDC is much more of a problem for parents living in cities than for those in country areas.
- About 70% of city parents responding to our survey did not find care easily
- Only 44% of those living in a regional or rural area had trouble finding child care
Winning the waiting game
Parents responding to our survey give a clear sense of how hard finding good care – or indeed any care – can be. Here they offer tips on how to handle the wait.
- “You have to budget for a non refundable amount of about $50 for each list you get on. Then you have to harass, beg, cajole, plead, stalk and bribe your way to securing a place. It’s the last disorderly frontier of an otherwise civilised society.” – Ray
- “I placed my daughter on five waiting lists at birth. When it got closer to when I was to return to work I’d heard nothing, so I rang around all the childcare centres in the area. In the end the place I got had nothing to do with a waiting list, it was just pot luck.”
- “I spent months waiting for a place to come up in one of three local childcare centres. In the end, on the advice of several friends, I summoned up as much negative energy as I could, walked into a centre and burst into tears. Within two days I was called back for an available spot. The fight to get a spot is like warfare. You have to pull out whatever artillery you have (sick parents, redundant partner and above all tears) in order to be considered.” – Sara
- “In my area, often the only way to get a spot is to try enrolling your child in a brand new centre before it opens. I actually took to scanning the development applications in my area whenever I saw a building going up that looked like it could be a new centre just to secure a spot.” Kate