State of Child Care in Australia
This publication provides information on the state of child care in Australia. The report sources information from administrative data and survey data from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the Productivity Commission and the ABS.
There were more than 870,000 children using approved child care in the September quarter 2009, up 8 per cent since the September quarter 2005. There are now 5,758 long day care services across the country, an increase of more than 1,000 services since the September quarter 2005. The proportion of child care hours being used was 75 per cent in September 2009, compared to 77 per cent ...view middle of the document...
In the March quarter 2010, 90 per cent of reporting long day care services in major cities had vacancies, increasing to 98 per cent of reporting long day care services in remote areas. While there are particular circumstances where families face challenges finding child care that meets their particular requirements, supply is largely keeping pace with demand. Over the past five years there has also been a key change in policy emphasis. Child care is now seen as both a mechanism to support labour force participation and as an important form of early learning and education. Consequently, there is now a greater focus on the quality and experiences that children have within education and care settings.
Child care and early childhood education funding
There has been a long history of the Commonwealth Government providing funding to assist families to access early childhood education and child care. The Commonwealth Government first provided financial assistance for child care in 1972. Today, the majority of Commonwealth funding assists families with their child care costs. Early childhood education and child care funding has more than doubled in the last five years, increasing from $1.7 billion in 2004‐05 to $3.7 billion in 2008‐09 and is expected to further increase to $4.4 billion in 2012‐13. During the next four years, the Commonwealth will invest $16.1 billion in early childhood education and child care. Figure 1: Australian Government funding for early childhood education and child care, 2004‐05 to 2012‐13
5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 $ Billions 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 2004‐05 2005‐06 2006‐07 2007‐08 2008‐09 Financial Years 2009‐10 2010‐11 2011‐12 2012‐13
Source: DEEWR administrative data.
State of Child Care in Australia
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Childhood Education and Care Survey, the proportion of children aged 0‐11 using formal child care has increased over time, from 14 per cent in March 1996 to 22 per cent in June 2008. During this period the proportion of 0‐11 year old children using long day care has doubled, and now accounts for more than half (54 per cent) of all formal care. Usage of informal care has remained relatively stable, representing 36 per cent of children in 1996 compared to 34 per cent 12 years later. The number of children using approved child care services in Australia has increased from 804,314 in the September quarter 2005 to 871,107 in the September quarter 2009 – an increase of 8 per cent. Of the 871,107 children in approved care in the September quarter 2009, 69 per cent were aged 0‐5 years. The average amount of time individual children spend in care has also increased. In 2004, children attending long day care did so for an average of 19 hours per week. This has increased to an average of 26 hours in 2009. ...