4402.0 - Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2011 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/05/2012   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product



In June 2011, of the 3.6 million children aged 0-12 years, 1.9 million (52%) usually attended some type of child care. Nearly one quarter (864,300) usually attended formal care and 1.4 million usually attended informal care. Both of these figures include the 369,500 children who usually attended both formal and informal care. (Table 1)

Usual formal and informal care

Around a quarter of all children (26%) were usually cared for by their grandparents, while 14% usually attended long day care, and 8% attended before and after school care. Family day care was attended by 2%, while 1% attended occasional care. (Table 1)

Patterns of formal and informal care use varied by age (Graph 1). Under the age of 2 years, 22% of children usually attended formal care, while 36% usually attended informal care. The highest level of overall care attendance was among 2 and 3 year olds, of whom 54% usually attended formal care and 40% informal care. For school aged children (those aged 5 years and over), 14% usually attended formal care and 39% informal care. (Table 1)

Children who usually attended care, by type of care and age
Graph: Children who usually attended care, by type of care and age

Couple and one parent families

The proportion of children aged 0-12 years who usually attended any form of child care was higher in one parent families (65%) than in couple families (49%). The proportion of children attending formal care was the same in both family types (24%). In couple families, 35% of children attended informal care, compared with 55% of children in one parent families. For children in one parent families, non-resident parents were identified as the most common source of care (29%). (Table 3)


Use of care by employed parents

Of children in couple families in which both parents were employed, 63% (1.1 million) usually attended child care. Where one parent in a couple family was employed, 31% of children (329,000) attended care and where neither parent was employed, 25% (43,800) attended care. In one parent families where the parent was employed, 82% of children (275,000) usually attended child care, compared with 49% (164,800) of those whose parent was not employed. (Table 4)

Among the 1.8 million families with at least one employed parent, in 65% parents used some form of work arrangement to allow them to care for their children. The most commonly used arrangements were flexible working hours (43%), part-time work (32%) and working from home (19%). In one parent families, 59% of employed fathers used flexible working hours, compared with 29% in couple families. Among working mothers, similar proportions in couple families and one parent families used flexible working hours (42% compared with 45%) and part-time work (41% compared with 46%) to care for their children. (Table 5)


Usual hours of care

For all children who usually attended any care, the mean time spent in care was 17 hours per week. The median number of hours was 10 per week. Of those children who usually attended formal care, 40% (343,800) attended for less than 10 hours per week while 9% (74,600) attended 35 or more hours per week. Of those children who usually attended informal care, 62% (876,500) attended for less than 10 hours per week. (Table 8)

Usual net cost of care

For the majority of children who usually attended formal care (63% or 544,500), the usual net cost was less than $80 per week. Long day care costs were typically higher than for other forms of care, with the median cost at $67 per week (Graph 2). A large majority of children (92% or 1.3 million) who usually attended informal care did so at no cost. (Table 11) See Explanatory Notes for a description of how cost of care is estimated.

Children who usually attended formal care, median cost per week by type of care
Graph: Children who usually attended formal care, median cost per week by type of care


Parents reported that additional formal care was currently required for 148,600 children. Of these, 48% mainly required long day care, and 34% before or after school care. When considering all types of additional formal care needs reported, the most common reason parents currently required the care was for work related purposes (104,700 children). In the majority of cases (68% or 100,500 children) one or two additional days a week of care was required. (Table 18)


Attendance at preschool or a preschool program

Of children aged 4-5 years who did not attend school (321,000), most usually attended a preschool or a preschool program (85%). Of these children, those living in one parent households were not significantly more likely to attend a preschool or a preschool program if their parent was employed (80%) than when their parent was not employed (68%). Of those children who lived in couple families where both parents were employed, 91% attended a preschool or preschool program. Of those with one parent employed and the other not employed, 88% attended preschool or a preschool program, while 68% of those with neither parent employed attended. (Table 14) See Appendix for information on CEaCS and administrative estimates of preschool attendance.


A large majority of children participated in some form of informal learning activity with their parents in the reference week. Of the 1.7 million children aged 3-8 years, only 1% did not engage in informal learning activities with their parents, compared with 9% of the 874,300 children aged 0-2 years. Reading activities were the most common type of informal learning in which parents were involved. In the survey reference week, parents read or told stories to 80% of 0-2 year olds, and told stories, read or listened to the reading of 96% of 3-8 year olds. Among 0-2 year olds, other common informal learning activities with parents included musical activities (77%) and watching TV, videos or DVDs (69%). Children aged 3-8 years commonly engaged in watching TV, videos and DVDs (89%) and physical activities (82%) with their parents. (Tables 19 and 20)