By Nikki Egginton
RRR Reference Group Member

Tchae Sheehan (24) is living the life that many young women her age can only dream of. She has a thriving business in her home town and doing what she loves. The business allows her flexibility to work the hours she wants and still be able to spend time with friends and help her family out when needed. Her business is a Family Day Care, one of many under the Central Wheatbelt Family Day Care Scheme.

Tchae explains she first thought of starting the business in May 2004 after an eighteen month stint as a nanny. Tchae was keen to get back to her home town of Cunderdin yet wanted to still work with children, so a Family Day Care Business was
her answer.

The business has now been operating for almost a year and she is fully booked with a waiting list. Tchae currently has four children under four years of age and three after school children in her care which can lead to some long hours at times.
To be able to operate a Family Day Care, Tchae had to hold a current Senior First Aid Certificate and have a security check. Tchae also had a Certificate in Childcare and three years experience working in a Child Care Centre in Perth, which she
says is not essential but she has found of use.

The Central Wheatbelt Family Day Care Scheme provides continuing education for those in their region in a variety of areas
from child behaviour, to enhancing children’s creativity through to cultural awareness.  Tchae says there are so many good
things about having a Family Day Care. She enjoys being able to stay in her home and not have to drive to work each day.

“Having a small number of children allows you to develop close relationships with the children and their parents,” said Tchae.
“An advantage of living in a small town is that I know many of the families whose children I care for and they know me which has allowed me to establish a trust that can take longer in larger communities”.

The Central Wheatbelt Family Day Care Scheme provides a lot of support. The Scheme does regular checks on Family Day Cares in their region, and also provides a toy exchange and 6–8 week programs for carers.

The Wheatbelt Family Day Care is currently in its second round of accreditation and Tchae has been one of the few in the Wheatbelt to be selected for validation. Tchae says this will be the next goal for her to meet and she is a little nervous of
the process and being accessed for accreditation, but is looking forward the challenge.

“If you are interested in starting a Family Day Care Tchae you need to have a love of children and enjoy arts
and crafts“ said Tchae. “I often feel like I am having as much fun as the children in my care”.  It is a career she loves and you can tell by the children in her care that she is well loved by them.