Whether you’re heading back to work, or weighing up your options now the new child care subsidy has kicked in – it can be overwhelming to decide what service is right for you.
It’s a shame that for many, choices are limited. As we all know, wait periods in the Eastern Suburbs can span for years.
This scenario was all too familiar for new mum Anka Stajic, who found herself at a career crossroad after taking a two-year break to care for her first child. She said “My husband runs his own business and we needed flexible care if I was going to return to work. It was hard for me to justify it, financially speaking we were nearly better off if I remained as a full-time mum.”
Anka continued “From the options we explored, I liked smaller arrangements where I knew my son would get attention. It was difficult to find something that could work to suit our unique schedule and getting a nanny was too expensive.” Desperate to find a solution, Anka came across Littlehubs, which had the potential to solve both her problems.
WHAT IS LITTLEHUBS?
Littlehubs is based on child care sharing whereby trusted families ‘buddy up’ with one another to share the cost of a carer in a flexible home-based arrangement. The families can rotate the hosting, or if one family’s better suited, a central ‘hub’ can be chosen.
When Anka joined Littlehubs as their Operations Manager, the concept resonated with her immediately. She said: “I knew many families with the same dilemma and I could see the value that flexible child care could offer.”
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
Families register via the Littlehubs website, providing basic some information about their child care needs. Littlehubs then introduces families with similar needs OR a family can create their own ‘hub’ with friends.
Once the families agree to form a ‘hub’, Littlehubs provides a screened carer to trial with the families. In the background, Littlehubs takes care of all the finer details i.e. working with children checks, polices checks and interviews to ensure the children and families have a great experience.
Anka also stressed that each ‘hub’ is inspected daily by the carer to ensure it is “child-proof”. She said: “We want to ensure the families have peace of mind when they leave their kids each day. Creating a safe and trusted environment is very important to us”.
FLEXIBLE CHILD CARE
The Littlehubs ecosystem is designed to support the evolving needs of families. “It does take some initial adjustment and pre-planning,” said Anka, “but I found once my ‘hub’ was established, it freed up my day and it eliminated a lot of the stress I had from traditional child care services.”
She continued “Each ‘hub’ has up to four children, which creates a personalised and friendly environment that’s social for the kids. It’salso great for parents who work irregular hours, when most traditional day care centres close their doors.”
IDEAL FOR BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL CARE
The flexibility and ease of Littlehubs can also make a great option for before and/or after school care. Programs hosted by schools are often limited, with kids sometimes seeing it as an extension of school. With Littlehubs, care takes place in the family’s home, thus eliminating the pressures of school pick up each day.
The carers support families by managing the before and/or after school pick-up. They can even help the kids with their homework and transport to extra-curricular activities. Again, the cost of a Littlehubs before and after school carer can be shared between families who form the ‘hub’. This becomes a convenient option for parents with working days that don’t fit in with school hours (which, let’s face it, is most of us!).
HOW MUCH IS IT?
Littlehubs is currently running a trial in the Eastern Suburbs whereby families can enter their child care sharing trial $8.00 per hour – heavily discounted from the usual price.
And, while Littlehubs does not qualify for government child care rebates, a full capacity ‘hub’ with three or four children, can still work out more cost effective than fully subsidised traditional child care options.
FIND OUT MORE
Littlehubs is currently seeking expressions of interest from families in the Eastern Suburbs wishing to take advantage of its child care sharing model for either day care or before and after school care.