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Do you need child care that’s more accessible, flexible and affordable?

It sounds like a dream, but it is about to become a reality in Greater Geelong thanks to a new community-led family child care network.

The network is being created by Clann, which is asking interested parents to register their postcodes online so it can identify where more accommodating child care options need to be rolled out.

Clann also wants to hear from locals interested in becoming family child care providers, who will be vetted and trained to industry standards.

Clann was launched last year to address the inaccessible and inflexible nature of child care by growing and supporting the numbers of quality family child care services nationally.

Liam and Amanda McFadden started the business, which is working with the iconic institution Life. Be in it and The Educational Professionals to train and accredit new family child care providers and educators using their innovative Know n’ Grow Program.

They also provide access to leading early childhood learning programs and resources. These have been co-developed by Geelong’s Robert Palmer author of Scope and Sequence Charts for Mathematics, Language, Culture, Early Childhood Development; and Canadian Dr Jennifer Fraser who is regarded as a world leader in combining neuroscience and psychology in ways that question and improve the way we empower children, young adults, families and communities.

The McFaddens came up with the idea for Clann after encountering great difficulties while trying to find suitable care options for their daughter Alice.

“When Alice was about 2, we thought since we could not access family day care that it would be great if I could offer a family day care service caring for another child or two a few days a week,” Amanda said.

“However, even with a background in childcare and social work I found it very hard to find a clear pathway to do this. So much information, so many obstacles and so little clarity.

“That’s when we came up with Clann. There are a lot of people like myself who have great skills and would be willing to do this with better guidance and support.

“There are also so many parents who can’t choose their child care provider. You have to go through intermediaries to be allocated a child care place or to a family day care provider – we thought that’s just silly because you want to find one yourself that meets your needs and is like-minded.”

Amanda said traditional child care wasn’t an option for many parents who did shift-work, casual work or only needed occasional care.

Five-day a week care also costs most parents a lot more than their mortgage while child care centre workers are paid low wages.

“Clann believes an increase in quality family-based care is the solution to higher incomes for carers whilst costing parents less,” Amanda explained.

Part of the solution is tapping into the many people who regularly provide informal or unpaid care for children other than their own.

One million Australian children rely on informal care and Geelong community profile data showed 17,527 people in the region provided unpaid child care in 2016. These people included grandparents, relatives and neighbours who may be interested in becoming trained family child care providers.

“Together, as a Geelong community, we can do something new and show Australia a new community-led family child care service,” Amanda said.

“We are reaching out to families with child care needs to spend five minutes creating a Clann family profile that will only be seen by the providers they choose to engage with. This will help us map demand by postcode.

“We are also reaching out to home school families, parents and grandparents who might be interested in acquiring early learning skills and a family child care income”.

Amanda said all information would remain secure, confidential and wouldn’t be shared with third parties.

To share your family child care needs, visit http://families.clann.com.au/

To learn how to become a family child care provider, visit www.knowngrow.com.au/upto3kids

For more information on Clann visit, www.clann.com.au

Clann can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @clannaustralia

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