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4402.0 - Child Care, Australia, Jun 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/05/2003   
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INTRODUCTION

1 This publication contains results from the Child Care Survey conducted throughout Australia in June 2002. It is a continuation of a series of surveys on this topic, conducted since 1969. The previous survey was in June 1999. The major aim of the survey was to collect data on the use of, and demand for, child care for children aged less than 12 years. Information was also collected on the use and non-use of the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the income and working arrangements of parents with children under 12 years.

2 The Child Care Survey was conducted as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The monthly publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the LFS. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing relevant to both the LFS and supplementary surveys.

3 From April 2001 the LFS has been conducted using a redesigned questionnaire containing additional questions and some minor definitional changes. These changes also affect the supplementary surveys. For further details, see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (cat. no. 6295.0) and Information Paper: Questionnaires Used in the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6232.0).


SCOPE

4 Information was collected from private dwellings with children under 12 years of age. The survey excluded children visiting the dwelling and students at boarding school. Persons excluded from the LFS are:

  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from censuses and surveys
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependents) stationed in Australia.

5 The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded persons living in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except in the Northern Territory where such persons account for about 20% of the population.


COVERAGE

6 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in June 2002. In the LFS, coverage rules were applied which aim to ensure that each person was associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


COLLECTION METHODOLOGY

7 Information was obtained through interviews conducted over a two-week period between 12 and 24 June 2002. Data collected on the use of child care related to the week prior to the interview (with the exception of Tasmania where it related to 27 May to 2 June to avoid Tasmanian school holidays).

8 In each selected household, detailed information about each child's child care was collected for a maximum of two children. Information was obtained from an adult who permanently resided in the selected household and was either the child's parent, step-parent or guardian. In selected households with more than two children aged under 12 years, two children were randomly selected and the complete set of child care information was collected for them. Summary information was collected for the additional children including number attending, CCB arrangements for, and cost of formal and informal care.

9 This sampling methodology differs from that used in 1999 where a small set of information was collected for each of the 3rd, 4th and 5th child in the household and the sampling methodology used in the 1996 survey and earlier, where a complete set of child care information was collected for all children resident in a selected household.


CHANGES BETWEEN SURVEYS

10 Some changes were made in the survey content between 1999 and 2002.
  • Questions on the CCB replaced the previous questions on the Child Care Rebate.
  • New questions were asked about whether a preschool/kindergarten education program was provided at the long day care centre or occasional care centre attended by the child.
  • In 1999, questions were asked about the year of arrival of children born overseas and whether the child's preschool provided care before 9 am or after 5 pm, conducted its program during school holidays and was in a suitable location. These questions were not asked in 2002.
  • In 1999, more detailed information was collected on country of birth.
  • In 2002, main language spoken at home was collected in relation to the child rather then the parent (as was the case in 1999).


CHILD CARE BENEFIT

11 The CCB was introduced in July 2000 and replaced Child Care Assistance and the Child Care Rebate. The CCB is a payment to help families who use approved and registered care (which broadly align with formal and informal care). Services must be approved or registered for parents to receive the CCB.

12 Families using approved child care services can choose to receive their CCB as reduced child care fees (benefit paid direct to provider) or as a lump sum payment at the end of the financial year (benefit paid direct to parent). Families using registered care can only claim their CCB through the year upon production of receipts. For more details on the CCB, see http://www.familyassist.gov.au.


COST OF CARE

13 Within this publication, cost of care is the net cost of care to the parents after the CCB has been paid. Net cost of care was calculated by collecting basic information from parents that enabled the ABS to estimate the CCB and then deduct the CCB from the reported cost of care.

14 To determine whether the CCB needed to be estimated for a particular child, children were categorised in the following groups:
  • CCB did not need to be calculated by the ABS as no CCB to be paid - this applied to children with no cost of care, and those children whose parents had not claimed and did not intend to claim the CCB.
  • CCB did not need to be calculated by the ABS as reported amount excluded the CCB - this applied to children who used formal care and whose CCB was paid direct to the provider (and therefore the parents paid reduced fees excluding the CCB).
  • CCB did need to be calculated by the ABS - this applied to children who used formal care and whose parents intended to claim the CCB, and children who used informal care and the parents had claimed or intended to claim the CCB.

15 The ABS estimated the amount of CCB using the CCB Ready Reckoner provided by the Department of Family and Community Services. The Ready Reckoner calculates the CCB using the number of hours of care, the standard hourly rate, family income and number of children in the family using child care, whether the child attends school and, for long day care, whether care is part- or full-time.

16 In estimating the CCB, the ABS assumed that:
  • if the parent intended to claim the CCB, then the care provider was eligible (i.e.approved in the case of formal child care services or registered in the case of informal child care services)
  • basic eligibility requirements for the benefit were met (e.g. residency and children's immunisation)
  • parents would be willing to provide their tax file number to the Family Assistance Office, which would enable them to obtain the CCB above minimum rates (depending upon the parents income)
  • parents met the work, study or training test, which is required for CCB in relation to registered care and is required for CCB in excess of 20 hours care per week for approved care.


RELIABILITY OF THE ESTIMATES

17 Estimates if this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:
  • sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For more information see the Technical Note.
  • non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient processing procedures.


NEXT SURVEY

18 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in June 2005.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

19 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

20 In addition to the statistics included in this publication, the ABS may have other relevant data available. Enquiries can be made by emailing Stephen MacDermott at stephen.macdermott@abs.gov.au or by telephoning 02 6252 5165 or by facsimile
02 6252 7784.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

21 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:
  • Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0)
  • Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0)
  • Child Care, Australia, June 1999 (cat. no. 4402.0)
  • Children, Australia: A Social Report, 2002 (cat. no. 4119.0)
  • Family Characteristics, Australia, April 1997 (cat. no. 4442.0)
  • Household and Family Projections, Australia, 1996-2021 (cat. no. 3236.0)
  • State Young Persons publications, 1996 (cat. nos .4123.1-4123.8)

22 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products, Australia (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.


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