It is imperative that, during the development phase, the project prepares for occupancy. The following steps must be dealt with during the development phase if not before, in order to prepare for the ultimate start of the project once construction is completed.
Equip the Service
When purchasing appropriate equipment make sure that the timing of this step coincides with the timeline established for developing and opening the facility. It is also important to develop a specific plan for receiving, installing and taking inventory of all supplies and equipment to keep track of exactly what has been ordered and when it arrives.
Registration of the Facility:
Although extensive communication should have already have taken place with the Tusla, the Childn and Family Agency with regard to design and construction of the facility, it is now a legal requirement from for all early years services proposing to operate from the 30th June 2016 to make application under section 58D(2) of The Child and Family Agency Act 2013, at least 3 months before it is intended to commence operation.
.At this point, after construction works are completed, you should also request a Certificate of Compliance for you fire safety consultant in relation to the Fire Safety Certificate obtained from the Fire Safety Authority.
Phase in Staffing and Children
- As the service is just starting or has expanded it is important to remember that the service will need to build up to full capacity
- Try to start in either September or January as these times of year coincide with the primary school schedules and parents are more likely to make changes in care arrangements at these times
- As enrolments build up maintain the services image and publicity efforts
- Establish a waiting list so that you can fill vacancies as soon as possible
- Maintain relationships with funders and develop new relationships with potential funders because it will be important to stay aware of opportunities and to prepare for times when you may need to seek assistance
- To ensure sustainability, it is best to establish an operating reserves budget to prepare for unexpected expenses and cash flow inconsistencies
- Also, though it can be difficult after developing close relationships with families, it is crucial to be realistic about the fees charged and to adjust them over time as the project’s expenses change
- Balance service obligations with business obligations, simply put, without attending to the business matters of the child care service you will not be able to maintain high quality
In 2011, Pobal, with the support of City/County Childcare Committees, developed a esource entitled “Making It All Add Up – a Sustainability Resource for Childcare Providers”. The resource addresses the issue of sustainability and aims to provide some practical guidance to childcare providers as they deal with the economic challenges currently facing many businesses in Ireland. It includes some mechanisms for services to self-evaluate, to ask the difficult questions about the services they offer, how they operate, how much they can charge and what they can actually afford to offer in terms of making it all add up.
The resource is currently available for all beneficiaries to download here