Dear My ECE,
I have been told there is no longer a place for my happily settled child as his educator is taking on another client.
I'm not happy to be faced with sorting out work and new childcare options and do not feel that it is fair to put our family through is. Can my part-time child be moved to make room for a full-time one and what can I do about this?
Complain to the home-based organisation using its in-house complaints procedure (click here for a complaint form). The organisation may or may not accept your complaint because unfortunately when it comes to money it is the choice of the self-employed educator contracted to the organisation (or the organisation if employing the educator) whether children’s needs come first or not.
So also send a written complaint to the Ministry of Education office in your area (click here to read more about the process of laying a complaint). This will alert the Ministry to this unsatisfactory situation and the Ministry hopefully will talk with the home-based organisation about how it may prevent this from happening again to another child and family.
Should your child happen to be 3 years or older and your home-based organisation receives funding for your child under the free 20-Hours ECE Funding scheme then a rule is that the educator cannot now refuse your child a place in favour of another child on the basis of whether or not you agree to pay optional charges or to make way for a child who will attend hours outside of the 20 Hours.
Parents whose educator can no longer care for their child should be offered alternative options and practical or financial help to find a new childcare place. Understandably you may not trust any assurances from the home-based organisation that this will not happen again and you may look to a different organisation or explore other options (click here to read more about different childcare possibilities).
Below are some comments from educators and service providers. The comments indicate that it is not common practice to withdraw the place of a part-time child and that there are home-based educators and organisations/service providers who put the needs of the child first. As mentioned below if your child was accepted only until such time as a family wanting full-time care came along then the educator or home-based educator had an ethical responsibility to explain this before your child started and become settled.
I have never done this as I feel it's better not to take on part-time children under this situation. They form a close bond with us so careful consideration should be made before starting care with a child. (Educator)
Whilst having full time children in care is a desirable situation I would never agree to this happening. I personally commit myself to being available for any child I take on for as long as they need care with me regardless of their enrolled hours. I agree that strong attachments are formed with children and their families. Also for some children where change and upheaval is a factor in their lives, I like to know that my home-based environment can be the one constant thing in their lives. So to move them would go against my values. I would fill the part-time position with another part-timer. (Educator)
Most educators need a steady income so I recommend that when educators take on a part-time child they make it clear to the parent at the time that if a full time child’s position comes up the full-timer will take preference over the part-timer. The parent can then make an informed decision whether to start part-time or not. (Home-based Service Provider)
Children and families build strong attachment with their educator and I can't imagine any of our educators giving up a part-timer for a full-timer! As an owner of a home-based agency and visiting teacher I wouldn't support educators in this either. Most of our children are part-timers anyway and educators fill their gaps with part-timers, i.e. they may have 11 children in care over the week to fill 4 full-time spaces. I understand that it is the educators livelihood but ethically and morally it's questionable and certainly not an example of best practice!!! (Home-based service provider)