Clann is many things (however, originally and fundamentally, it is a social enterprise that helps local families become providers of affordable, flexible, safe, and caring childcare for other local families needing care. The philosophy behind this purpose is that “It takes a village to raise a child”.
Today, we decided to break the meaning of this old adage down and asked Amy, Jas, Kayla and Brian to discuss how they understand the context of their understanding of Life. Be in it. FamilyCare. The questions we asked revolved around whether the concept would impact on their decisions to place their children with a Family Carer. How they and their children will benefit in practice, and whether it makes a difference in comparison with other childcare models.
All the four participants are parents of children using informal care provided by friends, grandparents neighbours and others. They live in a small town close to a large city.
Brian owns a local hardware store and is the primary carer for his two sons, as his wife pursues a career in banking. Brian is a strong believer in supporting local businesses and building a local community. He describes how his boys had originally been taken by his wife, on her way to work, to a large corporate child-care centre in the city. He described how they didn’t settle there because the Centre catered to the needs of the “city kids” and they didn’t feel like they belonged. Brian mentions an excursion to the bush and another to see kangaroos, which did not appeal to his children as those were thing’s they experienced all the time.
Brian thought that “keeping the kids local or in “the proverbial village” would be more beneficial”. He says that he and the kids would feel the difference immediately: the kids would settle straight away and be much happier making local friends: something they had struggled with previously.
Brian feels that a local carer would better know the way his kids grow up and how they are raised, making it easier for them to relate to each other. He mentions a preference for excursions to local parks, the local CFA station, local businesses owned by the parents, like his hardware store and incursions like a visit from the local dentist and a local apple farmer. Brian says: ” the boys would run into people they meet through local family care everywhere they go, recognise each other, greet each other and stop for a chat. That would really feel like being a part of “the village” and it would be empowering as a parent to see how well connected and liked the boys feel wherever they go”.
Amy, who is a single mum to a four-year old daughter with minimal local family support.
She had moved from interstate just before the lockdown and admits that she had not given much thought to the concept of ” the village” but “Brian’s pointers made her really relate to it well now”. She says that she initially found it difficult to make social connections but, could see how that would change when her daughter begins using a local Life. Be in it. FamilyCarer.
“The groups are small, and it’s the same 2-3 kids every time, so they can bond in a short time. Us parents could, too. We could catch up for playdates, exchange toys and books, hand down clothes, and help out by listening to each other.”
Amy says she now she can see how she can become a part of “the village”. She and her daughter would feel well supported and not be as isolated anymore.
Kayla nods in agreement and adds that for her the “longevity of the relationship with a child carer is as important as her being local”. Her son previously attended a big corporate daycare, just like Brian’s kids, and did relatively well. However, the very high rotation of staff caused him anxiety. “Carers would come and go, many of them were just on placements. This made it hard for him to form meaningful relationships. That wasn’t nurturing for him. So many times, after he got to like a carer, they would leave. With a family carer he would be emotionally safe as she is not going to suddenly move on. The consistency and stability would make a visible difference in my son’s confidence, emotional wellbeing, and help his emotional development.”
Jas says that, in addition to what was already said, for her personally, an important factor was supporting local families who take a huge leap from years of staying at home to running a family care business. “I’m so glad people can do this. Their skills, after raising their own children, honed by the professional development courses they do through Clann will create a much better standard of informal care. It is also so heartwarming to see stay-at-home parents grow into someone every local knows after all the excursions and incursions organised.
Jas says that she also considers that the Clann support team would be a part of her child’s village. Brian, Kayla, and Amy agree. Brian says “Yeah, Clann is certainly a part of it: you guys are so hands on, always available to chat, both for us parents and for carers. The beauty of having a village to raise your child is support and security. We will be so relieved to have Clann and their Life. Be in it. FamilyCarers