Survey result 2006

9 Out Of Ten Mothers Would Return To Workforce

Affordable and accessible child care is in no doubt likely to become a cornerstone in solving future workforce issues created by a lack of skilled workers and an ageing population.

9 out of 10 mothers who have not returned to work after having their child(ren) would do so if child care was more affordable or available. That's one of the key messages coming out of the 2006 Annual Child Care Survey

Almost 60% of respondents described their experience in finding child care as difficult or extremely difficult with more than 40% of those looking for care waiting 6 months or more. Somewhat alarmingly, almost 1 in 4 waited for more than a year to find suitable care. Only 1 in 5 were able to find care immediately.

Lack of available information regarding child care options was cited as a key issue with half saying they could not find enough information and a further 11% were unaware of any information being available at all!

As a result of these difficulties, almost 30% of children do not go to child care at all, and a further 30% are only in care for 1-2 days a week.

However, at over 70%, the most popular form of care chosen by parents are child care centres. Interestingly, engaging the services of grandparents as carers ranks as the third most popular form of child care, being used by over 12% of families.

Not surprisingly the thing that parents would most like to change about child care is the cost. 41% of families pay around $40-$60 for child care services a day, whereas 35% of parents part with $60 or more.

And how does the Child Care Tax Benefit help?

Well, almost 42% of families will get less than half of their child care cost back and around 20% will get nothing. The tax benefit arrangements are clearly not well understood with more than 1 in 5 respondents not even sure about their eligibility to claim.

In a response that was not surprising at all, 96% of respondents believe that child care should be tax deductible. In support of this belief, almost 8 out of 10 families send their children to child care because of full time or part time employment.

What we have here is a clear solution to a known major problem and a strong indication of the issues that need to be addressed to make it a reality. If we are to tap into this valuable and readily available employment work-pool then politicians take note!

Other interesting results of the survey included:

  • after cost, parents sited location, hours of operation and services provided as the things they would most like to change about child care
  • although the most prominent reason for sending their children to child care is work, many parents also believe its good for their development and some simply need a break.
About this survey
There were over 800 respondents to the 1st Annual Child Care & Workforce Participation Survey examining the health of Australia's child care system. The survey is held in the first quarter of every year, the survey encourages parents to provide insight into their specific child care arrangements and have their say about our child care system and whether it is working for them.

View results from other years: