The practice of waitlisting for child care places is one of the banes of parents' lives and certainly makes the child care search more stressful. Parents can easily pay around $60 per centre they register with, and with the necessity to register with multiple centres to ensure the best chance of getting a place; this can be very costly indeed and doesn't guarantee positive results.
Over the last few months we've received a number of emails regarding the practice of waitlisting: What's ethical practise? What is a reasonable fee? What does the fee cover? Should it be refundable? Are there limits to waitlists – can centres just keep putting names down ad infinitum or is there a cap at which they have to close the list?
With a shortage of spaces for the under twos in many inner city suburbs, the practice of waitlisting is all too commonplace. Most centres will charge a fee for putting you on the waiting list and this is fair as it covers the admin charges of managing that waitlist and also with communicating with the parents on it.
However, it seems that sometimes there is no further communication received by the parents to update them of their status. Some parents have even commented on the fact they suspect that services advertise vacancies purely to get parents through the door, then tell them there are no longer any available for what they want, and charge them for the waiting list.
This is extremely unlikely, albeit not impossible. All centres that are "approved" by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) have to report vacancies on a weekly basis, so technically they should not be advertising any vacancies they have not reported to DEEWR.