Yet another insomniac night, I'm afraid! Since I have had quite a productive day yesterday, I figured I would carry on being productive all night long, too. My focus? Childcare.
I have mentioned in a previous blog that it is important to have back-up plans sorted out way in advance - especially when you're a Single Parent. Even if you have no intention of signing up your child to a Childcare Centre, scout the options out there. You never know what you might require.
First things first
When it comes to Childcare, there are actual National Standards for Child Day Care Facilities which have been issued back in 2006 by the Government. You can clicky here for the English version, or here for the Maltese version.
By familiarising yourself with these standards, you will be able to understand better what constitutes a good childcare centre, and what doesn't. It will also set your expectations in a realistic manner.
Provisionally Registered Childcare Facilities
"What does this mean exactly?" you'll be wondering.
It basically means that the Department of Social Welfare Standards carries out an assessment of the Centre to outline what areas are compliant to the National Standards, and which areas require further development. The Centre then commits to working on the areas requiring development so as to become fully compliant. All facilities which have been granted with this certificate are obliged to display it in a prominent place within the facility. Failure to comply with the conditions of the agreement will result in the withdrawal of the certificate of Provisional Registration.
The entire list of provisionally registered facilities is available here.
Know your rights
Whilst doing my research, I came across the following Q&A from the Frequently Asked Questions on the DSWS's website:
"Q: ARE THERE ANY INCENTIVES FOR PARENTS WHO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO PROVISIONALLY REGISTERED CHILD DAY CARE FACILITIES?
A: First and foremost, parents who choose Provisionally Registered Child Day Care Facilities for their children have an assurance that the facility is striving to operate according to a set of established standards in the best interest of their children.
In addition, these parents would also be eligible for a tax rebate calculated upon their taxable income less a maximum of €1000 for each child. Further information can be obtained from the Department of Inland Revenue or by clicking here."
2Tax Rebate? Interesting!" I thought to myself. Off I went to the Inland Revenue & Customs website to get more information about it. I couldn't find the information at first, and their not having a search function made me grumble quite a bit. Until it happened - I found it!
If you clicky here, the booklet on how to fill in the Tax Returns form comes up. On Page 19, it is explained in detail as to what this Tax Rebate involves and whatnot. Another interesting thing I noticed [Page 6] was this: Single Parents' Tax Status changes to match that of Married couples! I was unaware of it. This is why doing your homework is vital - no one gives you this information unless you ask for it. These are all things that work in your favour - so make sure you make the most out of them!
There is a list of Childcare Centres on Pages 34 & 35 and a list of Private Independent Nurseries & Schools on Page 37. On Page 40 you'll find a list of what Tax Rates are applicable to you.
[p.s. Whenever I say page, I mean the PDF page number, not the one printed on the actual booklet pages themselves.]
The Next Steps
That would be making contact with Childcare Centres in your desired locations. In my case, I've located two Centres just a few streets away from my place. I have sent off an email requesting an appointment with a brief explanation of what I'm looking for, what my restrictions are, and that it will be a few months before I potentially contact them again to register Creature.
The sooner you take such steps, the better. Once Baby is born, you will have so much to juggle that you'll be thankful for any things which were planned in advance.
I will report back with updates undoubtedly in the near future!