Occasional care trial 2019

From Monday 7 January to June 2019, we will be trialling an expanded 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.  

From Monday 7 January 2019, we will be offering families longer sessions of care at:

  • Gold Street Children’s Centre in Collingwood will offer up to five hours of casual care.
  • Keele Street Children Centre in Collingwood will offer up to five hours of casual care.
  • Connie Benn Centre in Fitzroy will continue to offer four hours of occasional care.
    In addition, from March 2019 we plan to introduce more locations to the trial and also offer families the option of a full day of casual child care (up to 10.5 hours).
    During the trial, there will also be changes to the occasional care sessions currently offered at our leisure centres:
  • Occasional care sessions will not be offered at Collingwood Leisure Centre or Fitzroy Swimming Pool. 
  • 90 minute sessions will continue to be offered at Richmond Recreation sessions. 

Why are we introducing this trial?

We are trialling this expanded and improved occasional care service based on feedback we received from families. The 90 minute sessions at our leisure centres are 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.  The current 90 minute sessions do not support these opportunities. 

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.   

Better services for children and their families 

Connie Benn Centre, Gold Street Children’s Centre and Keele Street 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 register to be notified when enrolments open for the new casual care sessions. 

Enrolments are expected to be open in November 2018. 

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.

The 90-minute sessions at Collingwood Leisure Centre and Fitzroy Pool were not meeting the needs of most families. Only 42% of positions were being filled compared to 80% for sessions at dedicated child care facilities. 

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 and Fitzroy Pool will have an impact on the 55 or so regular users (once per week or more) 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.   

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 in Richmond 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 for the period of the trial there will be no additional cost. 

For our expanded casual care option, 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 and Keele Street Children 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.