PARENTS with children in family day care could face rising costs, as an Illawarra-based organisation urges the public to sign a petition to help ease the transition of educator to child ratios.
The NSW Family Day Care Association is the peak organisation for Family Day Care Services in NSW.
From January 1, 2014, educator to child ratios will change.
Educators currently provide care for up to seven children under the age of 12, with a maximum of five children not yet attending school.
Next year, educators will provide care for up to seven children under the age of 13, with a maximum of four children not yet attending school.
The association claims there has been no specific research with regard to the best educator to child ratios in a mixed age group setting in family day care. Different states and territories have various transition dates to comply with the Education and Care Services National Regulations.
The association is requesting an extension of the transition date for the change of ratios in order for independent research to be conducted.
Illawarra Family Day Care provides child care in a registered home environment. It is a non-profit, community-based organisation funded by the federal government.
Kathleen Marskell is the nominated supervisor with Illawarra Family Day Care, with whom she has worked for 30 years.
She said the drop in ratios would have a major impact on all family day care services.
"We're going to lose about 25 per cent of our income," she said.
"Educators normally have five children, so when it drops down to four, they lose a fifth of their income. So educators are most probably going to lose over $100-$150 a week in income.
"We get admin levy off the parents, so we're going to lose that admin levy that covers the service to help us as a community-based service, run our service.
"We're looking at ways of how we can reduce our costs to compensate for that, or we're going to have to put our fees up."
IFDC has about 10 educators within the Shellharbour LGA and 46 in total, about 450 families using its service.
"Where are the other children going to go?" Mrs Marskell said.
"We have to say to a parent, 'we can't have your child any more because the ratios have changed'."
Mrs Marskell has been encouraging families to sign the petition, believing at least a 12-month timeframe is required to better make the transition.
To sign the petition, visit gopetition.com.