Nanny slave cases highlight gap in policy
Sydney Morning Herald - Kirsty Needham - December 15, 2013

Sydney families are enslaving international students in their homes to work as nannies. The discovery of three slaves held in a "psychological cage" in a British home for 30 years created international headlines. So why so little public attention to a disturbing government agency...

Baby steps on wages front
Sydney Morning Herald - Rachel Browne - December 14, 2013

Amy Bell loves her job at an eastern suburbs childcare centre where her days involve teaching, feeding and caring for up to 26 children. But she admits the pay is not one of the best parts of the work. The 26-year-old is just two weeks off finishing a diploma which will take her wage up from...

Sorry, but is it worth making kids apologise?
The Australian - Patricia Karvelas - December 14, 2013

Now childcare educators are immersed in a raging debate about whether children who break the rules, hurt each other and are generally badly behaved should be required to say sorry -- with a strong and emerging view that the word should be dumped because children don't understand...

The government got it half right
Sydney Morning Herald - Michael Pascoe - December 13, 2013

It hasn't been the best week for the Federal Government – behind in the opinion polls already and copping plenty of unfriendly headlines. It must be of little comfort to think those headlines were the result of policy that was at least half-right. For example, moving to ditch the previous Labor's...

Labor's $300m childcare fund up for probity audit
The Australian - Patricia Karvelas - December 13, 2013

THE Abbott government has taken the extraordinary step of referring Labor's $300 million Early Years Quality Fund -- designed to lift some childcare wages -- to the Auditor-General, arguing that it needs to be investigated over "concerns", particularly around "probity issues". It comes after...

Tony Abbott's broken promise to early childcare workers is a cruel betrayal
The Guardian - Kate Ellis - December 12, 2013

Too scared to break yet another election commitment, the Coalition asked child care providers to break it for them. Our childhood workforce has once more been let down and ripped off. Screaming children, soiled nappies, inquisitive minds. Our early childhood workforce work incredibly hard...

U-turn by Labor on childcare rebate
The Australian - Patricia Karvelas - December 12, 2013

LABOR and the Greens will combine in the Senate today to block the Abbott government's proposed freeze on the indexation of the $7500 childcare rebate, despite Labor first proposing the freeze in its last budget. Labor childcare spokeswoman Kate Ellis told The Australian Labor would work...

United Nations wants Australia to ban smacking, prosecute offending parents
NEWS.com.au - December 12, 2013

Parents who smack their children should be prosecuted and teachers ordered to dob in tough-love mums and dads, the UN has told the Australian government. And it recommends that all professionals working with children - such as teachers and childcare workers - be "trained to...

Pay back childcare money: minister
The Australian - Rick Morton and Patricia Karvelas - December 11, 2013

THE minister in charge of the childcare sector has labelled Labor's $300 million wages increase a "slush fund" aimed at boosting wages for union members and has called on some providers to pay back $62.5m earmarked for low-paid workers. Despite claims from Assistant Minister for...

Childcare fund, pay rises, scrapped
NEWS.com.au - Adam Bennett - December 10, 2013

THE childcare workers union has warned low paid carers will walk away from the sector after the federal government scrapped a Labor scheme to increase their pay. Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley describes the $300 million Early Years Quality Fund, set up by the former Labor...

Early childhood key to improving Indigenous health: AMA
World News Australia Radio - Thea Cowie - December 10, 2013

The Australian Medical Association's latest report on Indigenous health points to recent scientific breakthroughs which help to explain why the cycle of disadvantage is so hard to break. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health report card highlights the impact early childhood...

Childcare wage rise used to lift union numbers
The Australian - Patricia Karvelas - December 10, 2013

THE allocation of Labor's $300 million fund for wage rises for childcare workers was deeply unfair and the sector's peak union used it to boost its membership, an independent report has found. The PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia report, to be released today, also finds that the wage...

Grandparents babysit nearly half of Australia's young kids AISF finds
NEWS.com.au - Natasha Bita - December 10, 2013

GRANDPARENTS are babysitting nearly half of Australia's young children while their parents work, new official figures show. The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has found that baby boomer grandparents are caring for 40 per cent of babies, toddlers and preschoolers whose...

Childcare costs: families spending 9% of income after subsidies
Sydney Morning Herald - Matt Wade - December 9, 2013

Families with one child in full-time day care are devoting about 9 per cent of their disposable incomes to childcare fees even though the federal government spends more than $5 billion a year subsiding parents. A new Productivity Commission issues paper says families earning $35,000...

Mothers no longer rely on neighbours for childcare
Sun-Herald - Cosima Marriner - December 8, 2013

Gone are the days when parents relied on friends and neighbours to look after their children while they worked. New research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies reveals a sharp decline in the use of non-relatives for informal care of children over the past quarter of a century...