Childcare centres may soon not be able to take new enrolments due to changes in how the government funds them.
Childcare centres may soon not be able to take new enrolments due to changes in how the government funds them.

New mums turned away from childcare over funding

New mothers due to return to work are struggling to find childcare as a consequence of the federal government's changes to centre funding.

Four weeks ago, the government said it would fund centres until at least the end of June based on their revenue in the second half of February - before parents began pulling out their kids due to the coronavirus crisis.

Providers have also been told to prioritise existing enrolments.

Jessica and Adam Hicks, with their son Oscar, 11 months, at home in Googong, NSW. Picture: Sean Davey.
Jessica and Adam Hicks, with their son Oscar, 11 months, at home in Googong, NSW. Picture: Sean Davey.

Childcare Alliance vice-­president Nesha Hutchinson said that once a centre's enrolments reached 75 per cent of February levels, the new funding model stopped being viable.

Also, beyond that level, social distancing restrictions were in danger of being breached. Ms Hutchinson said she was aware of new mothers being turned away.

"It's difficult for the families that may not have had an enrolment previously," she said.

New enrolments at childcare centres could be turned away because of social distancing rules. Picture: Sean Davey.
New enrolments at childcare centres could be turned away because of social distancing rules. Picture: Sean Davey.

Queanbeyan's Jessica Hicks is meant to resume work on May 11 but hasn't been able to find care for her 11-month-old son Oscar.

"How are women supposed to return to the workforce if we can't get our children into care," Mrs Hicks said. "I can't even pay so I can send my kid." Under the government changes, childcare was made free temporarily.

Originally published as New mums turned away from childcare over funding


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