Childcare use hits the million mark

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National







Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt Golding

The number of children in childcare has increased by one-third over the past eight years with the biggest boom in the long-day care sector even though families in Sydney and Melbourne are still struggling to find vacancies.

There are 1 million children using services according to figures to be released by the federal government on Sunday, which also show a 40 per cent increase in long-day care enrolments and a 13 per cent increase in outside school hours care between 2004-12.

While providers have raised concerns about fee increases under changes to childcare, which require more and better qualified staff, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations report shows a rise of 7.3 per cent last year, in line with the average annual increase of 6.9 per cent since 2004.

Fee rises were highest in Victoria at 9.6 per cent in 2012 while fees increased by 6.1 per cent in NSW.

The report states the total average fee increase between 2011 and 2012 has been 50¢ a day, less than the $1.07 a day forecast by Access Economics.

The increase of the childcare rebate from 30 to 50 per cent in 2008 has led to a drop in out-of-pocket costs for parents, which have fallen from an average 13 per cent of disposable income in 2004 to 8.4 per cent in 2012, for families on a gross income of $75,000.

Out-of-pocket costs for families using long-day care were highest in the ACT and NSW and lowest in Queensland.

Childcare Minister Kate Ellis said the figures show care had become more affordable under Labor.

However, Australian Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge said they did not reflect the experience of providers, saying changes under the national quality framework for early childhood education and care have had an impact.

”Fees have certainly increased since the national quality framework was introduced and parents are still finding it tough,” she said.

Since 2004, the number of long-day care services has increased by 35.9 per cent, or 1635 centres, and the number of family day care services has grown by 15.9 per cent or 63 services.

While the report found there are more than 15,000 services in Australia, Ms Ellis acknowledged that some families still struggled to find places for their children.

”While there’s been strong growth in the number of places, there are still unacceptable shortages in many highly populated centres, particularly Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.

“Our government is tackling these shortages on a number of fronts but it will take partnerships between all levels of government and the private sector.”

The report follows new data from childcare watchdog, the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority, which found that 44 per cent of providers were still failing to meet the new standards of care and 5 per cent were given waivers to keep operating despite not meeting staff or space requirements.

From January 1, 2014, every childcare worker in Australia must have a certificate III qualification, half the staff must have at least a TAFE childcare diploma and every centre must have a degree-qualified teacher on site all day.


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Childcare use hits the million mark
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childcare – Yahoo! News Search Results
childcare – Yahoo! News Search Results



カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク

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