4240.0.55.001 - National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/03/2013   
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In 2012 the Australian Government was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool children, the Child Care Management System (CCMS). The CCMS enabled a data extract to be provided at child unit record level (URL) for the 2012 National ECEC Collection.

Child Care Management System

Institutional Environment
The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and the Department of Human Services all share responsibility for the operation of the CCMS. Data for the CCMS are collected under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (Cwlth) and the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cwlth). Preschool data from the CCMS for the purposes of the National ECEC Collection are managed by DEEWR.

The CCMS is a national child care administrative system that enables child care services to exchange child care information online with the Australian Government. It enables the payment of Child Care Benefit (CCB) fee reductions on behalf of parents, to approved child care services. It also provides for the collection of information about the supply and usage of child care across Australia. All CCB approved child care service providers are required by law to operate under CCMS.

Child care services use their CCMS registered software to record child demographic, enrolment and attendance information. Relevant data is then extracted by DEEWR to allow calculation and payment of CCB fee reductions on behalf of children in their service. Services need to supply this information regularly in order to comply with CCMS regulations.

While the CCMS was not initially designed to collect information about preschool programs in Long Day Care (LDC) centres, the CCMS provides an opportunity to gain such information. From June 2010, enhancements were deployed in the CCMS to capture information on whether a child is attending a preschool program in each LDC, and the hours per week of preschool attendance. Reporting capabilities for this data have been available since 1 September 2010.

Scope: The scope of the CCMS extract for the National ECEC Collection included all children aged 3 to 6 years of age who were enrolled within the reference week at a LDC provider approved for the purposes of CCB.

Coverage: All services approved for the purposes of CCB were required to provide data through the CCMS. However, LDCs delivering preschool programs were not mandated to complete the preschool program component of the CCMS, which has resulted in under-coverage due to levels of non-response. Service providers that were not approved for CCB purposes were not included in the CCMS. Refer to Chapter 1, Collection Scope and Coverage for more information on the strategy undertaken to improve coverage in this sector.

Data collection methods: The 2012 preschool program component of the CCMS collected data using a URL data collection methodology for the following statistical entities:

  • Child: data at the child record level
  • Service provider organisation: data at the service provider record level
  • Worker: data for workers was not available.

The CCMS involves service providers uploading weekly attendance information for children enrolled at their service. Data were extracted from the system for a collection reference period of 30 July to 5 August 2012. Completion of the data processing and validation stage took approximately 2 to 3 months from the collection date, at which time data were delivered to the ABS.

Under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cwlth), approved child care services are required to submit certain records such as weekly enrolments and attendance record reports for each child to DEEWR electronically, using an approved software. To ensure there are no duplicate enrolments, DEEWR checks dates of birth and Child Reference Numbers as well as Service Client IDs so there can only be one current enrolment at a service for the same parent/guardian and child combination.

The CCMS has a high level of accuracy in reporting information on child demographics (such as name, date of birth and address information) and children’s attendance in child care services, as this information contributes to the provision of CCB. However, some service provider characteristics and information on children’s attendance in preschool programs was subject to a level of service non-response, as the provision of this data by service providers was not mandatory. Furthermore, as not all services use the same software to record the information into CCMS, the various interfaces used to input to CCMS can influence what is recorded. No data on workers within service providers are collected through the CCMS.

Data collected in 2012 from the CCMS for use in the National ECEC Collection was comparable with date collected in 2011.

The preschool program component of the CCMS was designed to collect data in accordance with the 2010 ECEC National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS). As a result, there are small discrepancies between the national standards defined in the 2012 ECEC NMDS and the data collected from the CCMS.

CCMS method of collection of preschool program fee was collected using the total LDC fee, rather than just the preschool program component. This methodology influenced a higher preschool fee resulting in a potential over exaggeration of preschool fees for a preschool program delivered within a LDC.

Despite this, data sourced from the 2012 CCMS were of sufficient quality and comparability for use as a supplement to state and territory data, thereby improving 2012 coverage of preschool programs delivered in the LDC sector. Deviations between the 2012 ECEC NMDS and data collected from the CCMS are outlined in table 6.1.

6.1 Deviation of Collection from the 2012 ECEC NMDS

Data ElementDetails of Deviation

Indigenous statusData were based on the Indigenous status of the person receiving the CCB (i.e. the child’s parent or guardian), not the Indigenous status of the child. It is assumed that the person receiving the CCB is biologically related to the child and that the child’s Indigenous status is the same as their parent’s.

Maximum preschool program hours availableData were not available in 2012.

Preschool program hours attendedThe reporting of this data element by service providers was not compulsory and therefore in some instances was completed using enrolment hours. It is only compulsory to record complete day absences and therefore the hours attended may be overstated.

Management typeData were not ECEC NMDS compliant.

Worker data elementsWorker level data were not available.

Counts of Children:
It is possible for a child to be concurrently enrolled in, and attending, two or more preschool programs and attend preschool across years. In order to address collection requirements, it is important to be able to identify matched episode records for a child accurately, both within a collection cycle and between years.

Children in a Preschool Program in 2012:
      For data sourced from the Child Care Management System (CCMS), counts of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs in 2012 were able to be derived as data were collected using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

Children in a Preschool Program in the Year before Full-time Schooling:
      Two years of comparable data collected using a URL methodology and a child/client database were available for data collected from the CCMS.

Extensive explanatory information was provided in a handbook and a telephone enquiry help desk was available to assist users with queries about how to report information under the CCMS. The CCMS handbook is available for download from the DEEWR website, along with other instruction sheets and explanatory materials, at http://www.deewr.gov.au/Earlychildhood/Programs/ChildCareforServices/Operation/Pages/CCMSPublications.aspx.

Data sourced from the preschool program component of the CCMS for the 2012 National ECEC Collection are published at the state and territory level in Preschool Education, Australia, 2012 (cat no 4240.0) on the ABS website.

Information Source
The information in this report has been sourced from DEEWR in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available from the DEEWR website: http://deewr.gov.au/early-childhood.

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