As a single parent running her Family Day Care business, Kylie Clay was very apprehensive about the impacts COVID-19 would have on her livelihood and the families she works with.
“I am a single parent to two girls, aged seven and ten years old, so I have no option but to be financially self-sufficient through my Family Day Care business,” she says.
Kylie provides home based child care and operates her business under the umbrella of Windermere Child & Family Services who provide her with guidance, resources and support.
In the initial days of COVID-19, amongst the backdrop of tightening restrictions, the families of the children Kylie cares for were facing many personal and financial challenges “Families were coming to me needing to stop attendance, reduce hours or change times because of the pressures they were under,” she says.
For Kylie, this meant an immediate reduction of the income her family depended upon and an uncertain future.
She was very relieved when the Federal Government announced the JobKeeper allowance and child care subsidies which would alleviate her immediate financial pressures.
Windermere was also able to provide Kylie with the support she so desperately needed during that confusing and stressful time. “They communicated really well, letting us know what was going on,” she says. This included email bulletins and individual phone calls to work through what the various relief packages meant and how Kylie could apply for them.
“When the Australian Government announced the Early Childcare Relief Package, which was to work in conjunction with JobKeeper, Windermere worked to ensure that no educators would be worse off financially, based on 50% of the educators earnings in the deeming fortnight,” says Jo Verschaeren, Windermere Family Day Care Consumer Engagement Officer.
“The way Windermere as an organisation handled payments so every educator was supported was a huge deal,” says Kylie.
“Windermere went out of their way to treat all the educators fairly. Thanks to Windermere and JobKeeper I could still pay my bills as I normally did,” she says.
Kylie was also very grateful for the advice and support of a financial adviser. “Luckily I have a good friend who is a financial adviser. She is actually one of the parents of one of the children I used to care for, so she was able to help me with my JobKeeper application.”
“She helped me get through all the COVID-19 applications. She was fantastic calculating what my entitlements and payments should be,” she says.
Kylie also had to modify her daily procedures and routines for the children still attending care.
“The main difference was that we could not go on any outings. So we had to improvise and collect leaves in the driveway instead of at the park. Now we’ve also focussed more on creative play and done things like turn the lounge into an underwater adventure area with hanging fish and seaweed,” explains Kylie.
She is positive about the way the children have responded to the pandemic. “They are pretty resilient. Now the situation has become normal for them, they understand they can’t do certain things due to Coronavirus. The parents and I together have been open with them, and explained that there are things we have to do to keep them safe.”
For more information about Windermere Family Day Care contact the team on 1300 946 337.