Australian Bureau of Statistics
1367.2 - State and Regional Indicators, Victoria, Dec 2007
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/02/2008
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Feature Article - Child Care Usage in Victoria
Use of child care
Use of care by children of different ages
Child care usage varied with age for both formal care and informal care. In Victoria, the use of formal care for young children (0 to 2 years) was 23%. This increased to 43% for children aged 3 to 4 years, before dropping to 14% for children aged 5 to 12 years. In comparison, the use of informal care was 37% for young children (0 to 2 years) and rose to a peak of 43% for children aged 3 to 4 years, before falling to a low of 29% for children aged 5 to 12 years.
Hours of Care
In terms of formal care, most children used relatively few hours of child care. This was evident in both Melbourne and the Balance of Victoria. Of those children attending formal care in Melbourne, 57% spent less than 10 hours per week in formal care. In the Balance of Victoria, the proportion was slightly higher, with 62% using formal care for less than 10 hours per week during the reference period. There was a higher proportion of children spending between 10 and 19 hours per week in formal care in the Balance of Victoria (27%) compared to Melbourne (22%). However, the proportion of children who attended formal care for 20 hours or more per week was much lower in the Balance of Victoria (11%) than in Melbourne (21%). The median number of hours for all children aged 0-12 years who used child care in Victoria was 9 hours in the reference week.
Similarly, with informal care most children used relatively few hours of child care. In Melbourne, 59% of children who used informal care accessed less than 10 hours per week, while in the Balance of Victoria the figure was 53%. By contrast, for those children who attended informal child care for 20 hours or more per week in the reference period, the Balance of Victoria had a higher proportion of children using informal care (27%) than Melbourne (21%).
Couple and one parent families
A higher proportion of children in one parent families (53%) used child care than children in couple families (44%). Both family types were more likely to use informal care than formal care. Among children from one parent families, 39% used informal care and 24% used formal care. Of children from couple families the proportions were 31% (informal) and 19% (formal).
Whether required additional formal care
The survey sought information from parents about whether their formal child care requirements were met. Those families not using formal care were asked whether there was any time in the last four weeks when they wanted to use any formal care services but didn't. Those families already using formal child care were asked whether there was any time in the previous four weeks when they wanted to use any more formal care services but didn't.
COST OF CARE
Cost of care information measured by the 2005 Child Care Survey is the cost of care to the parents after the Child Care Benefit has been taken into account. This cost does not take into account the new Child Care Tax Rebate introduced in December 2005. (For more detailed information about the Child Care Tax Rebate and the Child Care Benefit, refer to the Explanatory Notes in the ABS publication Child Care Australia, June 2005 (cat. no. 4402.0). As well as any Child Care Benefit entitlements, the cost of care is influenced by factors such as the hours spent in care and the different fees for different types of care.
Estimates of child care costs per family were also available, but only for informal care and an aggregate of formal care and preschool. The total median weekly cost for couple families was $15 in the reference week, compared to $4 for one parent families. These low median values are largely influenced by the fact that many families did not have to make any payments for their use of informal care.
WORK AND CHILD CARE
Use of work arrangements to help care for children
People used a range of work arrangements to help them care for their children. These included flexible working hours, permanent part-time work, shift work, work from home and job sharing arrangements.
Of the 74,800 children who attended preschool in the reference week in 2005, 45% attended for fewer than three days and 55% attended for three days or more. Of these children, the main reasons for choosing a particular preschool were convenience (39%) and quality/reputation of that preschool (32%).
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This page last updated 14 May 2008