This is a story of an Aussie mum choosing childcare who sat on the waiting list for 4 years and then missed her spot. We are sharing her story to inform new mums what it can be like choosing childcare and we are helping childcare centre-services understand what it feels like to be a parent in this situation. Here is her story:
I work for a large employer which has 2 childcare centres located very close to my place of work although my work doesn’t own them. I put my daughter’s name down on a waiting list just before she was born and took some time off to be with her in the form of maternity leave and extended leave. One of the centre’s has a very good reputation and is well known for their engagement with parents and community feel. I was really interested in my daughter going to that centre but they let me know it was a long waiting list. Fast forward and 4 years later after finding alternative childcare 30minutes away near our home we get the call. We are both pretty excited and it will be so much easier travelling together to work my husband and I book an appointment with the manager and a walk through. We spent about 15 minutes having a really good chat with the Manager we discussed the starting date and agreed we were in!
Later that day I was feeling rotten and headed home. My head was killing and I had a terrible sore throat which kept me in bed for the next 2 days. While I was off sick I checked my email and saw the childcare centre had sent through a letter, which I thought confirmed our spot. It was a letter of offer. I didn’t open it up just fell into a deep and restful sleep in the knowledge we had finally secured the childcare we had been wanting her to go to for so long.
So Day 3 I was up and about. I gave the centre a call first thing and……….wait for it………They said they had re-allocated our place because we hadn’t got back within 48 hours and accepted the spot. I was in shock! I called them. I spoke to them about it and the were resolute. Now way 48 hours and thats it. I pleaded, “but we accepted at the time”. No, it had to be in writing within 48 hours. Well, why didn’t they say that to us when we viewed it an accepted it? Apparently the Director is not responsible for what her staff do or do not say. And you know the irony. It took me 6 weeks to get a response because……she was off SICK!
So parents out there choosing childcare. If you are offered a spot in childcare? Confirm it though your lawyer, tick all the boxes, leave your first born as a deposit, sign in blood at the time you accept the place, because if you think choosing childcare is hard? Getting in the door is even harder!
This article has is based on an interview with a mum who will remain anonymous so as not to risk any future childcare offers:)