Casual and Occasional care trial 2019

From Monday 7 January to June 2019, we will be trialling an expanded casual and occasional care service. The trial aims to provide a better service for children, more flexibility for families and greater value to the community.

How will the trial work?

We will be trialling a casual and occasional care based program that will enable longer sessions at purpose-built childcare facilities in more locations.  

Five-hour casual care

Five-hour casual care sessions are available at:

  • Connie Benn Early Learning Centre in Fitzroy 
  • Gold Street Children’s Centre in Collingwood
  • Keele Street Children's Centre in Collingwood
  • North Carlton Children’s Centre in Carlton North
  • Yarraberg Children’s Centre in Richmond

All five-hour casual sessions run from 8.30am to 1.30pm.

Five-hour sessions cost $56.70, but if you are eligible for the Commonwealth Government childcare subsidy, you will not have to pay the full amount per session.  

Full-day casual care sessions

From Tuesday 23 April, full-day sessions (up to 10.5 hours) will be available.

All-day sessions cost $119.10, but if you are eligible for the Commonwealth Government childcare subsidy, you will not have to pay the full amount per session.  

Four-hour occasional care sessions

Connie Benn Early Learning Centre will continue to offer four-hour occasional care sessions – with a new, earlier start time:

  • Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8.30am to 12.30pm 
  • Monday and Wednesday: 1.00pm to 5pm 

From 4 February, we will add be adding two more morning sessions. Sessions will run from: 

  • Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 12.30pm 
  • Monday and Wednesday: 1.00pm to 5pm 

90-minute occasional care sessions

We will continue to offer 90 minute occasional care sessions at Richmond Recreation Centre and Fitzroy Pool. Sessions run every day from 9am to 10.30am and 10.30am to 12pm.

Occasional care will not be available at Collingwood Leisure Centre during the trial period. 

Why are we introducing this trial?

We are trialling this expanded and improved casual and occasional care service based on feedback we received from families. The 90 minute sessions at our leisure centres were not meeting the needs of most families in our community, with less than half of the available places being filled. 

We asked families how the service could be improved and the overwhelming feedback we received was that they wanted longer and more flexible sessions. 

The longer sessions will still enable families to access the gym or pool, but will also provide opportunities for shopping, appointments, respite or even study.  

Better services for children and their families 

Connie Benn Centre, Gold Street Children’s Centre, Keele Street Children’s Centre and Yarraberg Children’s Centre are specifically designed for the supervision, education and care of children. These locations offer a one-stop-shop for families, and also offer services like kindergarten, long day care, maternal and child health, and parent information sessions.

Cost of casual care and the childcare subsidy 

The full fees for casual care in 2019 are $56.70 for 5 hours and $119.10 for a whole day (10.5 hours). However, most families will not be required to pay the full fees because they will be eligible for Child Care Subsidy provided by the Commonwealth Government.

For example, if your family is eligible for 50% child care subsidy, you would pay $29.77 for 5 hours of casual care.    

Families who are not eligible for the Child Care Subsidy will still be able to request occasional care at the Richmond Leisure or Connie Benn Centre in Fitzroy. 

Find out if you’re eligible for a Commonwealth Government childcare subsidy. 

How long will the trial run? 

This trial is expected to run until 28 June 2019, during which time we will assess how this change is able to meet the needs of families. Council will then make a decision on whether to continue with the new approach or to make further adjustments.

Council’s decision will be based on feedback from families, attendance levels and expert advice.

How can I book in to the new sessions?

You must enrol your child to be eligible for casual or occasional care programs.

Enrolments are now open. You can enrol online using My Family Lounge.

You will need to provide some documents with your application

You must provide a copy of your child’s Immunisation Status Certificate when you enrol. 

Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to provide a copy of:  

  • Court Order / Parenting Plan
  • Medical Management Plan

Once your child is enrolled, you can use the My Family Lounge website or app to request a booking for care.  Requests for bookings can be made up to one week ahead.

Please note: To book a 90 minute occasional care session at Richmond Recreation Centre, please contact them directly.

Frequently asked questions

Why are you making these changes to occasional care?

We are trialling this new approach based on feedback from families who use the service, who told us they want longer sessions and more varied start times.

By offering longer sessions at better locations we aim to provide the flexibility that families asked for and to attract more families to the service. 

What are you doing to help affected families?

We understand that the closures at Collingwood Leisure Centre will have an impact on regular users of the service. We are encouraging all affected families to consider our new casual care options at Gold and Keele streets in Collingwood, and the occasional care service at Connie Benn Centre in Fitzroy. 

90-minute sessions will be available at Fitzroy Pool, which is a short distance away. 

We are also encouraging families to contact us for help in transitioning to the new services. Contact Family, Youth & Children’s Services on 9205 5555 or at info@yarracity.vic.gov.au (subject line: Occasional Care Trial).

I have paid for a 10 visit pass for access to occasional care – what can I do?

You may continue to use your multi-pass at the occasional care service at Richmond Recreation Centre or Fitzroy Pool in 2019, or alternatively, you may request a refund or credit note for other Yarra Leisure services.

Will I have to pay more? 

Occasional care and casual care are different child care options, and families will need to decide which option suits them best. If you continue to use occasional care at Richmond Recreation Centre or Fitzroy Pool for the period of the trial there will be no additional cost. 

For our expanded casual care options, the out-of-pocket cost of care will depend on your individual family circumstances.  Most families are eligible for the Child Care Subsidy from the Commonwealth Government and that lowers the overall cost of the service to individual families.

In some instances, families on higher incomes may pay more for casual care, but for those on lower incomes the cost per hour may be cheaper than the current occasional care service.

Find out if you’re eligible for a Commonwealth Government childcare subsidy.

The lower cost 90-minute sessions will continue to run at Richmond Recreation Centre throughout the trial. 

Why don’t you offer the longer sessions at the existing leisure centres?

We are not able to offer longer sessions at the leisure centres because these spaces were not designed to accommodate the care and supervision of children for extended periods of time.   

Facilities like Gold Street Children’s Centre, Keele Street Children Centre and Yarraberg Children’s Centre are specifically designed for the supervision, education and care of children, and offer a range of complementary services. 

What will happen at the end of the trial?

This trial is expected to run until 28 June 2019. We will then make a decision on whether to continue with the new approach or to make further adjustments.

We will be consulting with families who use the service throughout the trial.

Any decision on the future of the trial will be based on a review of the trial, feedback from families and attendance levels. 

More information

For more detailed information, you can read the council report on the occasional care trial and the occasional care service review.