Key statistics at a glance
Type of early childhood education and care
- In 2008, an estimated 42 per cent of children aged 12 years or less usually attended some type of child care.
- Informal child careInformal care includes privately provided care either in the child's home or elsewhere, for example, by friends, relatives or nannies. It is not regulated and no government assistance is provided. was the most commonly used type of care followed by formal child care.Formal child care is provided by a person other than a child's parent or carer, outside of the child's home (e.g. centre-based long day care, family day care, outside school hours care and occasional care). It is regulated and supported by Australian government assistance. A small proportion of children used a combination of both.
- A greater proportion of 3–5 year olds than other age groups usually went to formal child care.
- Formal care for younger children was most likely to be long day care.
- Grandparents provided most informal care.
- The use of child care was higher in one parent families than couple families, and in the Sydney area than the rest of NSW.
- In the three years to 2008 there has been an increase in the proportion of children not usually attending some type of child care.
- Preschool was attended by 82,000 children aged 3–6 years.
- Most attended for 3 days or less.
- Between 2005 and 2008 the number of 3–6 year olds attending preschool increased by 6,500 children.
Difficulties with early childhood education and care experienced by parentsAcknowledgements: This chapter uses unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The HILDA Project was initiated and funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHSCIA). The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute) manages the project. The views and findings reported in this paper however are those of the author and should not be attributed to either FaHSCIA or the Melbourne Institute.
- In 2008, over three-quarters of parents with 0–14 year olds experienced difficulties with child care.Child care is defined to include family day care, long day care, other center based care including preschools; outside of school hours or vacation care; care provided in the child’s home or at the providers home for payment; or care provided by a friend, neighbour or relative for free or payment in kind.
- The most common difficulties were the cost of early education and care, finding it at short notice, or for a sick child.
Cost of formal child care
- In 2008, the median cost of formal child care for 0–12 year olds was estimated at $42 per week.
- The median cost is much higher for 0–5 year old children ($56 per week) than 6–12 year old children ($20 per week).
Quality of child care services
- In the last six months of 2010, the vast majority of child care services that had their quality assessed were determined to be performing at a satisfactory or higher level. Services are assessed on their performance across the quality areas that make up the National Quality Standard and given one overall rating. This overall rating is determined by the rating given for each of the quality areas and provides an overall picture of the quality of a service.