Regulations force up day care rate

From the outside, Toni Banks's single-storey home in Horsley looks like any other in the street.

It is not until you cross the threshold you realise the commonplace brick exterior is hiding a children's treasure trove of books and craft activities.

It has been a work in progress for the Illawarra Family Day Care educator, welcoming children into her home for 14 years.

Reforms blamed for childcare fees hike

Ms Banks is one of 45 educators in her organisation - and a growing number across the region - providing non-centre-based childcare in the Illawarra.

A mother herself, Ms Banks has been a vocal supporter of the family day care system.

"A lot of people think of it as a babysitting service but it couldn't be farther from the truth - we are all trained and we have [an additional] 10 training nights a year and guidelines to follow," she said.

"Caring for a smaller group [makes for] a really great atmosphere, it's really enjoyable for everyone."

Family day care is often considered an affordable and convenient alternative to centre-based childcare.

But like other day care providers Ms Banks has felt the pinch of government regulations, forcing her to raise her hourly rate from $7 to $7.40 this year to compensate for the drop in number of non-school-aged children she can care for.

The reforms have cost her more than $200 a week, she said.

Yesterday the Productivity Commission's 2014 report on government services revealed the median cost across the country for a 50-hour week at family day care was $339 - a 3 per cent jump from the previous year.

While cost is often a a big consideration for many parents weighing up childcare options, Haywards Bay mother Sam Green said she was glad to find a more personal service.

Her daughter Emily, 3, has been attending Ms Banks's family day care since she was six months old.

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