Demand lacking for childcare places

Ashley Brittain and her son Evan. Childcare centres make it hard for parents with alternating rosters to obtain casual care for children, she says.  Picture: Bruce Hunt         d435463
Ashley Brittain and her son Evan. Childcare centres make it hard for parents with alternating rosters to obtain casual care for children, she says. Picture: Bruce Hunt         d435463

Full-time positions are available at most of the centres across the region, with one at only about 50 per cent capacity.

Of seven centres contacted by The Advocate, all but one had room to spare for a few extra children, confirming data available on the MyChild website.

The data is in stark contrast to some inner-city suburbs, where up to 200 families are reportedly on waiting lists.

The State Government is assessing all of WA childcare centres and has named the top centres in the State so far.

Three centres within The Advocate readership area � Flying Start Child Care Centre in Bullsbrook, Jellybeans Childcare in Charlottes Vineyard and Jellybeans OSHC in Malvern Springs � made the list. All were found to exceed national standards.

Childcare Association of WA executive officer Rachelle Tucker said the group was lobbying the Federal Government to implement stricter planning for centres.

�There�s no planning for where you put a childcare centre, so sometimes there�s a lot of centres that are put in an area that�s not in high need,� she said.

�So you can still build a centre but, unless it was in a high-need area, you couldn�t get the childcare benefit.

�Ellenbrook is still a fairly new area aimed at first-home buyers, so it will be an area of need in about five years, I believe.�

Single mother Ashley Brittain, from The Vines, said despite the local vacancies, she was recently required to pay for full-time, five-day care for her son Evan to ensure he received care on two specific days a week.

Ms Brittain said many childcare centres made it hard for parents with alternating rosters to obtain casual care for children. She requires flexible childcare due to Evan�s father working alternating shiftwork.

Evan was in childcare on a casual basis for more than a year until Ms Brittain was given four days notice to find him care elsewhere.

The reason given to her was to make more positions available for children on the full-time roster.

�I was gobsmacked to only have four days notice to find him somewhere else,� she said.

�Evan only needs two or three days a week at the centre but I�ve had to pay more for the full-time care, just to have that security and make sure it can�t happen again.�