Northern Rivers Children's Services Ltd Caring for the community since 1980

 

 

INFORMATION & FAQsNorthern Rivers Family Day Care           

 

What is Family Day care?                 

Family Day Care provides quality, affordable professional childcare for children up to 12 years of age in the homes of registered Family Day Care Educators. The Family Day Care Scheme is managed by a coordination unit which is staffed by experienced professionals who support the provision of quality care and manage the scheme.

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FDC is a government funded and subsidised care and education service. Parents using this service are eligible for Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. Northern Rivers FDC is regulated and guided by the Education and Care Services National Regulations and the National Quality Framework.  Northern Rivers FDC currently has an exceeding the quality standards rating with the Australian, Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).  FDC is provided under license to small groups of children in a Registered Educator’s home. Each FDC Educator is selected, trained, supported and supervised by Northern Rivers FDC, a division of Northern Rivers Children's Services Ltd (see the About Us Page).

About Our FDC Educators

The Selection of FDC Educators is based on a careful assessment of skills and personal attributes, and the suitability of the physical home environment. Educators must be competent, professional, ethical and compassionate. They must demonstrate a strong commitment to identifying and responding to the emotional and developmental needs of the children in their care. Our Educators are self employed sole operators of a small business.

Are FDC Educators qualified?

All Educators will have, or be in the process of obtaining, a Certificate III in Children’s Services from January 2014.  Currently most of our Educators have a Certificat lll in Children's Services with many holding a Diploma in children's services. FDC Educators are also required to hold a current approved First Aid, Anaphylaxis Management, Emergency Asthma Management training certificates and Public Liability Insurance. They are also required to undergo training in H&S, Risk Assessment, Food Handling, and Child Protection, as well as initial training in Administration, Health Safety and Hygiene, Child Development, Communication, Programming, Play & Play Resources, Regulations & Quality Practices, Settling and Partnerships, and Guiding Children’s Behaviour. In addition, Educators receive ongoing support, training and resources throughout the year. CLICK to view our current training schedule. Our Educators and adult members of their households undergo a criminal record check before becoming registered with NRFDC.  

How are FDC Educators Supported and Monitored?

Unannounced regular visits to every FDC Educator are carried out by our qualified and highly experienced FDC Coordinators. These home visits support Educators and continually assess the quality of care and safety of the environment.

What is a FDC Coordinator?

Our FDC Coordinators are all qualified Early Childhood professionals. FDC Coordinators are responsible for providing a group of FDC Educators with professional support. They do this by regular visits to their homes, as well as phone and email contact. Coordinators also supervise playgroups, present training sessions, provide printed resources and organise functions such as excursions and networking outings.

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The FDC Coordinator who visits your FDC Educators home will monitor your child/ren to ensure they are experiencing an environment which is safe and stimulating for all area of their development. They will assist the Educator to formulate programs that will meet each child’s individual needs. Coordinators generally develop a relationship with each of the children in care through their interactions during visits, provision of interesting learning experiences, and participation with the children in playgroup activities.

Co-ordinators can assist parents by providing information on topics of interest and assist with issues such as separation anxiety or developmental concerns. Your FDC Coordinator is always available to discuss any aspect of your child’s care. Contact details will be provided by your FDC Educator in the form of a business car.d

 

Why is FDC different from ‘centre based’ care?

Because Family Day Care takes place within the FDC Educator’s home it is ideal for young children and babies. A small group of children means your child will receive one to one attention whenever it is needed. The small group also allows friendships between children to develop quickly.

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Family Day Care is the calm, personal family-like alternative to childcare centres. Your Educator gets to know your child and your family in a way that a large childcare centre cannot. When you arrive at your FDC, you are greeted every day by the same experienced professional Educator.

FDC is ideal for babies and toddlers starting childcare for the first time. Siblings stay together in FDC. They are not separated into different rooms according to age. Older school age children can use the same FDC that their younger siblings use for before or after school and during school holidays. FDC can be very flexible, providing care at night and weekends. We have Educators in many locations, often close to where you live or work and FDC can be very affordable when compared with Childcare Centres.

Why Northern Rivers Family Day Care?

We are proud to be the largest FDC service in the Northern Rivers and one of the largest in NSW. Our resources are unmatched, and include three toy libraries, a fleet of buses, four playgroup venues, training facilities, two coordination offices, resource libraries and more.

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We have been operating since 1980, expanding from Lismore up to Tweed Heads. We have a number of relief Educators who are available to continue care in the primary Educators home. This availability assists Educators to provide consistent care during holidays and emergency leave.

The service is administered by professional staff in our Coordination Units at Lismore & Tweed Heads. The quality of care is also enhanced by our daily playgroup sessions, group outings, in-service training, phone & email support, bulletins, toy library and Educator interest free loans for toys & equipment for the children in care.

Our service has a dedicated Special Education Teacher who with parental consent is able to conduct child assessments, formulate programmes, provide on-going support, and make relevant referrals to other community agencies. As a non-profit organisation NRCS endeavours to develop close relationships with other services and agencies within the local and surrounding community to promote best outcomes for children and their families. Information from here may be better in the Parent Information section.

What about Health and Safety?

Northern Rivers Family Day Care places a strong emphasis on health and safety. During each visit to the Educators home the Coordinator will scan the area for potential hazards and discuss any risk management practices that need to be put into place. Formal Health and Safety checks are carried out by our Coordinators and documented on a regular basis.

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Educators are kept up to date on Health and Safety issues by the provision of relevant fact sheets and ongoing training. The monthly ‘Educator Bulletin’ provides constant updates on Health and Safety issues in the community, toy and equipment recalls, and information from relevant health authorities. Each of our FDC Educators has a full copy of our Policy and Procedures Manual available for families to view our Health and Safety policies. Each Educator also is provided with a ‘Staying Healthy -Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services Manual’ to provide a reference on all aspects of hygiene, prevention of illness strategies and infectious diseases data.

Playgroup, Excursions and Routine Outings

Northern Rivers Family Day Care places an important emphasis on playgroup participation, and actively encourages all educators to attend these routine outings. Parents are also welcome to attend playgroups which are provided in Lismore, Tweed heads, Kyogle, and Casino. Playgroups are funded by the Scheme and are free of charge to educators and parents. Transport is provided on request for educators. All our FDC buses are equipped with child safety restraints suitable for the ages of the children they carry.

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Networking is another routine outing. Networking involves 1 – 3 educators arranging a ‘get together’ in one educators home. As with all excursions an approved risk assessment is required. Risk assessments examine possible risks associated with the outing, particularly in relation to getting the children to and from their primary educator’s home and the networking location. Parents must be notified in advance of the visit, agree to the outing, have details of the times and location, and be shown the approved risk assessment. Networking gives children the chance to interact in a larger group and to be familiar with other FDC educators in the event that back-up care is required.
Excursions to the local library, rescue helicopter and the fire stations are organised by Coordinators to give children experiences in the wider community.

 

What if my child has Special Needs?

Northern Rivers FDC believes children with special needs should be integrated into mainstream Family Day Care. Our Educators are encouraged and supported to care for children with special needs.

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Educators can receive additional Commonwealth payments depending on a child’s care needs. Our specialist staff will assist Parents and Educators to apply for special needs funding. With parental consent our specialist staff can also conduct child assessments, formulate programmes, provide on-going support, and make relevant referrals to other agencies. For more information please contact one of our offices.

What happens when children are sick?

If your child becomes ill or has an infectious disease, you will be asked to keep them out of care until the symptoms are no longer present or until you are able to provide a medical certificate stating that your child is no longer contagious. The exclusion policy will be applied equally to all the children in care. We recommend that families organise a support person to provide care for your sick child if you cannot be available.

What will happen during holiday periods?

To provide quality care FDC Educators need to have regular holidays. NRFDC offers a service to provide backup care with an alternative Educator for your child during this period. We also offer the option to Educators to employ a Relief Educator to work from their own premises during holiday and sick leave periods. The relief Educator system provides stability for children and families as the care continues uninterrupted at the same FDC residence.

What will my child’s day be like in FDC?

See photo gallery CLICK HERE
Northern Rivers Family Day Care Educators are now working within the guidelines of the ‘Early Years Learning Framework’. The Framework’s vision is for all children to experience play-based learning that is engaging and builds success for life. It is a guide for early childhood educators who work with children from birth to five years.

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Using the Early Years Learning Framework educators will listen, watch and talk to your child and you, to develop learning programs which are based on your child’s ideas, interests, strengths and abilities. Your FDC educator will regularly discuss your child’s progress, and may use photos and examples of your child’s work to show what your child is learning, how they are developing and what particular learning interests them.
FDC Educators have a flexible routine for each day that assists the children in their care to develop a sense of security and belonging. Routines are formed around mealtimes and care routines such as toileting, nappy change and rest time.

A range of educational experiences are offered in Family Day Care, these are just a few:

  • Visual Arts – painting, drawing, stamping, collage, clay, dough, cutting, box construction, printing.
  • Social – children are provided with a care environment that promotes secure and nurturing relationships between children. Friendships are formed with the guidance of the Educator who encourages children to feel confident, respected and valued as individuals. Social experiences include; group activities, turn taking opportunities, role play, and responsibilities to others that promote a sense of belonging to the FDC group.
  • Dramatic Play – children are provided with a range of props, dress ups, equipment and real life items to encourage pretend play, exploration, investigation, and social interaction. These resources are often located in cubbies, tents, home corners, and sandpits to extend the possibilities.
  • Music and Movement – musical instruments are used in groups and individually, singing games, finger plays, dancing sometimes with props (scarves, ribbons, bells etc.)
  • Construction – each Educator has a range of blocks, construction sets and individual items to enhance construction such as cars, animals, dinosaurs, sea creatures, material pieces, natural items, and many more.
  • Literacy – Children will have access to a range of drawing materials, paper, cardboard, word/letter games, books for all age groups, word/letter posters and puzzles. Educators label children’s artworks and belongings draws and assist older children to commence writing their own names and those of others.
  • Numeracy – Throughout the day Educators incorporate the opportunity to count, add and subtract. Equipment such as matching games, sorting activities, pattern exploration games, measuring tools are available to children.
  • Science and Environment – children are provided with opportunities to discover, investigate and learn about their natural world. Educators are now incorporating recycling, water conservation and respect for the environment in their routines. Science equipment such as magnifying glasses, binoculars, magnets, measuring cups, weight scales, light boards and experimentation supplies are also made available to children.
  • Communication – Included in the program are small group experiences which encourage communication. Discussion, songs, finger plays, games, puppets, photo books, story-telling and dramatic play provide opportunities for children to communicate.
  • Physical Development – Outdoor play including obstacle courses, bikes, ball games, tunnels, play gyms, rockers, group games, sandpit, water play (sprinklers, spray bottles), set up and pack up, carrying, hand washing and other self help skills are all part of the program.
  • Relaxation and quiet times – individual children’s rest needs are incorporated into the routine each day. Relaxation music, story books, story CD’s, soft toys are provided to give children the opportunity to rest. For children who are old enough go through the day without a rest quiet activities are provided. See our photo gallery for a snapshot of a day in FDC ]

How much does FDC cost?

Family Day Care fees are competitive and government subsidised for families who are eligible for Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. Your Child Care Benefit percentage is based on taxable income. Fees are generally charged in accordance with a Fee Schedule (click to download Fee Schedule). Our office provides a complete service in relation to FDC fees, including calculating CCB entitlements, out of pocket expenses, and assistance with lodging applications for CCB.

What types of care are available?

Because FDC Educators have no more than four children under school age, or up to seven under 12 years (including their own), they are able to offer individual attention to each child in their care. It is our general policy that our FDC Educators will have a maximum of 3 children less than 2 years of age.Therefore, older brothers and sisters may be in care before and after school, maintaining the family atmosphere. Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) are available for all types of childcare in accordance with Family Assistance Office (FAO) requirements.
Full time care – Child Care Benefit is available for up to 50 hours p/w per child for work or study purposes (37 hrs of CCB in Standard hours). If more than 50 hours of subsidised care is needed for your child, documentation from the parent/guardian must be provided to the FAO (Centrelink) to prove it is needed for work or study purposes.
Part-time Care – Part-time workers (less than 15hrs p/w) and parents not in paid work are eligible for up to 24 hours per week of subsidised childcare.
Casual Care – When the days and hours are not known on any given week.
Rostered Care – Is applicable when a families work commitments are on a rotating roster basis. Please discuss your roster with the office to confirm eligibility for absences covered by Child Care Benefit.
Before and After School Care and School Holiday Care – Available for school children under 12 years as part of Family Day Care, In Home Care (see below) or in selected schools where we operate OSHC services – click here
Emergency Care – Is required as a ‘once only’ for a family in a crisis situation. Approval for this type of care is granted by an Authorised Supervisor on a case by case basis. Special reduced fees may be available for families experiencing short-term financial difficulties. *Back-up care *- Can be provided by another Registered FDC Educator if required while your regular Educator is either on leave or is sick. It is the responsibility of the parent to contact the office and request what care is required during this time.
Relief Care – A registered FDC Educator may provide childcare from the home of the primary FDC Educator, subject to the consent of parents and the primary Educator. The standard of care and supervision is the same.
In Home Care – childcare is provided by a Registered Educator in the child’s home. Care is monitored by our staff, who will also conduct initial home safety checks prior to approval. There are a number of eligibility criteria, including the unavailability of mainstream childcare services, 3 + children below school age, child or parent disability and remoteness. Please click here for more information.

What is the wait list arrangement?

A waiting list of all applications received is maintained by the Coordination Unit. Applications are prioritised and placed in order on the list using the priority of access guidelines developed by the Department of Family and Community Services. Click on the link for more information about Priority of Access.

The date of registration on the waiting list and the available vacancies will also be taken into account. Where possible, priority is given to placements for siblings of children who are currently in care. Parents will be contacted to inquire whether they still require childcare and to confirm that the original application information is still current.