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.

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.

Educator Toni Banks at Illawarra Family Day Care. Parents pay $7.40 an hour, up from $7. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Educator Toni Banks at Illawarra Family Day Care. Parents pay $7.40 an hour, up from $7. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

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

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