What the free child care announcement means to me as an essential worker

April 20, 2020


As part of the Australian government’s response to the Coronavirus, free child care for working parents is on offer for the next six months.

Parents are encouraged to get in touch with their child care centre to confirm their spot, or re-enrol if they have stopped attending.

For anyone looking for a centre, visit Toddle to find the perfect care for your child. If you’re an essential worker you can also enjoy priority placement to ensure that you can continue with your work.

Toddle spoke with several essential workers from around Australia, to find out what Scott Morrison’s announcement meant to them.

Cait, mother of two, nurse 

Cait is a nurse in a hospital in regional NSW. She has two children aged 1 and 3.  

‘For the past few months I’ve been working two days per week in an outpatient section of my local hospital. My children have been attending their child care centre, which is close to the hospital, during this time.

As soon as the announcement of the free child care came through, my boss asked me if I would be interested in getting trained up to move over to a different section, where I would be assisting with more urgent care for patients – potentially including some with Coronavirus.

For me, knowing that I could access another day or two of care for my little ones means that I’m able to step up to help out with the care of Coronavirus patients. Without the free child care, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to do it. 

Normally I might have asked my in-laws if they could help out with the kids, but of course that’s not an option at the moment with everyone in isolation. 

My children love their child care centre and their educators, and I was lucky that when I contacted the centre they said they had availability for another day if I wanted it. As I work in health care, I’m sure they bumped me up the priority list, which is fantastic. 

I’m undergoing the training now and hope to be helping out with the urgent care patients shortly, as and when needed. I’m so grateful that I was given this opportunity.

For me and other nurses that I know, it’s great to have caring educators looking after the children while we go to work to try and help support Australians who are unwell. Not having to worry about paying fees takes that pressure off at this tricky time.’

Jane, mother of one, store manager

‘I’m so relieved to have the option of free child care. My husband can’t work from home, and it was hard saying no to shifts because I didn’t have anyone else that could take care of my son, who is four. 

Supermarkets on the whole have had to hire so many more people as the demand has been so high. I’m now able to take up the extra shifts to help push through this really busy period.’   

Alex, father of two, pharmacist

‘My partner and I are both essential workers, so for us, the announcement came at just the right time. We had both been juggling the care for our twins, but both wanted to be able to do more to help. 

My twins are two and have so much energy! Being able to enjoy four days of care instead of two, just while the world is as it is, has made it possible to do some more hours at work and really feel as though I’m making a difference.’  

Are you a working parent?

If you would like to take up the free child care as a working parent in Australia, visit the Toddle website to find great care in your area. There is an option to let the centre know if you are an essential worker, to ensure you receive priority assistance with securing your spot.



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Toddle is the most comprehensive child care finder in Australia, on a mission to make parents’ lives easier.