If I Have One Child In Childcare Already Does That Guarantee A Spot For My Baby?

Blog Image for article If I Have One Child In Childcare Already Does That Guarantee A Spot For My Baby?

Are you gearing up to send your baby to childcare? If their older sibling already attends childcare, you might be wondering whether or not your youngest will be given priority access at the same childcare facility. To cut a long story short, yes, siblings are generally given priority over other children on waitlists at childcare services. With that said, it’s also worth being aware of the Priority of Access Guidelines that most childcare providers are required to comply with.

Read on to learn more about the Priority of Access Guidelines and the benefits of sending your children to the same childcare service.

Do siblings get priority access to childcare?

In short, yes. Most childcare providers give priority to children whose siblings already attend the service. With that said, just because you may have priority access doesn’t necessarily guarantee your baby a spot as soon as you need it. 

To begin with, there has to be an available position for your baby to be offered a spot at the childcare facility. With the current demand for so many childcare facilities exceeding the number of positions available, it’s not uncommon for siblings to have to join the waitlist before getting into the childcare service themselves. 

When it comes to newborn daycare in particular, due to the strict educator-to-child ratio requirements, there are often more limited positions available. This can make it more difficult to secure a spot for your baby in newborn daycare. 

Priority of Access Guidelines

Childcare providers that are Child Care Subsidy (CCS) approved, including long day care, family day care, out of school hours care (OOSH) and in-home care services, are required to comply with the Priority of Access Guidelines. These guidelines dictate the process for allocating places to children requiring care.

Childcare positions that remain vacant after following the Priority of Access Guidelines are then offered to families with childcare who are currently enrolled at the centre or who have a prior relationship with the childcare service.  From here, places are provided to families on the waitlist on a first in best dressed basis. 

The Australian Government provides funding to approved childcare provers with the intention of meeting the childcare needs of families with recognised work or work-related commitments. Where the demand for child care exceeds the available CCS places, the ‘Family Assistance’ legislation requires that long day care, family day care, in-home care and out of school hours care services that are approved for CCS, allocate those places to families with the greatest need for childcare.

Under this legislation, childcare providers must fill vacant places according to the following priorities:

  • Priority 1: A child at risk of serious abuse or neglect,
  • Priority 2: A child of a single parent who satisfies, or of parents who both satisfy, the
  • work, training, study test, and
  • Priority 3: Any other child.

Within these main priority categories, priority should also be given to children in:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families,
  • Families that include a disabled person,
  • Families that include an individual whose adjusted taxable income does not exceed the low income threshold or who or whose partner is on income support,
  • Families from a non-English speaking background,
  • Socially isolated families, and
  • Single-parent families.

Note: Where a service is funded by an employer to provide child care solely or primarily for the children of the employer’s employees, the service may give priority to those children.

Although most childcare services will provide priority to children whose siblings already attend the service, services are asked to first offer available positions to Priority 1 and Priority 2 children under the legislation. 


Benefits of sending your children to the same childcare

Sending your children to the same childcare service can have several benefits for both you and your children alike. Here are some advantages:

  • Convenience: Sending siblings to the same childcare centre can simplify drop-off and pick-up routines for parents. It reduces the need to travel to multiple locations, making daily logistics more manageable.
  • Familiar environment: Siblings attending the same childcare centre can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort for each other. This can ease the transition for younger siblings who may feel more at ease knowing their older brother or sister is nearby.
  • Sibling bonding: Being in the same childcare environment allows siblings to spend time together during the day. This can strengthen their bond and provide opportunities for shared experiences, fostering a sense of companionship.
  • Ease of communication: Parents may find it easier to communicate with childcare staff when their children are in the same centre. Updates, concerns or special instructions can be conveyed more efficiently when both siblings are in one location.
  • Streamlined scheduling: Coordinating schedules for siblings attending the same childcare centre can be more straightforward. Activities, events and important dates can be managed more efficiently, reducing potential conflicts for parents.
  • Support system: Older siblings can provide emotional support and guidance to their younger siblines, fostering a sense of security and protection. This can be especially beneficial during adjustment periods or if one child suffers from separation anxiety.
  • Potential cost savings: Some childcare centers may offer discounts or special rates for families with multiple children enrolled. This can result in cost savings for parents, making quality childcare more financially accessible.
  • Greater consistency: Having siblings in the same childcare centre allows parents to maintain consistent values and routines across their children. This can contribute to a cohesive family environment and reinforce important behavioral expectations.

If you need help finding a childcare provider in your area, why not check out our free Childcare Search tool? Use our tool to compare providers on a range of important factors, create a shortlist of the top contenders and enquire directly with the childcare services. While you’re there, you can use our Child Care Subsidy calculator to calculate your savings with all the siblings in care. All it takes is 30 seconds to work out how much Child Care Subsidy your family could claim and estimate your out of pocket child care cost.

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