Child Care News for Parents May 6, 2015 -®
Child Care News for Parents & Carers
May 6, 2015
We had a fantastic response to our tenth Child Care and Workforce Participation Survey. So, thanks to all who participated. Our article gives you the lowdown of the survey's highlights and what you think about the current state of affairs. It's Mothers' Day this Sunday, which means it's all about us. But what does it mean to be a mum? We asked some well-known Aussie mums to tell us what it means to them.
Survey Results
Child Care &
Workforce Participation
Annual Survey
The annual Child Care and Workforce Participation Survey serves as a benchmark for assessing the state of the Australian child care system. This year more than 2000 parents/carers and people interested in early childhood education and care services completed the survey, providing us with a wealth of useful information.

While many of the questions in this year's survey asked about workforce participation and the proposed changes to the system as a result of the Productivity Commission report, we also asked people about their personal care preferences and how they feel about those choices.

Most Australian children start care between 7-12 months and attend for three days a week (32 per cent) for an average of 7-8 hours per day. Work is still the main reason why people put their kids in care, however just under 10 per cent of parents said they used child care to give their child an opportunity for social interaction.


Waitlists are still a common experience for Australian parents with 62 per cent claiming they went on one or more waitlists before they secured care. While 42 per cent of parents paid less than $20 to go on a waitlist and astonishing 14 per cent paid $80 or over with no guarantee of securing a spot.

Interestingly it took most parents (73 per cent) just 1-6 months to find care with 86 per cent claiming they did find the type of care they wanted. Only 13 per cent took longer than 12 months and 11 per cent of families were unable to find they type of services they wanted.

Despite the success rates many parents still find the search for care frustrating with 43 per cent claiming it was difficult or extremely difficult.

Type of service

Consistent with last year's results, the vast majority of parents (75 per cent) still rely on child care centres for their child care requirements. Interestingly, however, grandparents have risen to the second spot with 22 per cent of families regularly relying on older generations to care for the kids.

Great job

The vast majority of parents believe their provider is doing a fabulous job, with 75 per cent rating their service as excellent with great carers and facilities. In addition, quality is paramount with just under 60 per cent of parents saying they don't mind whether their service is private or not for profit as long as the quality is good.

With such high satisfaction levels it will come as no surprise that the one thing 50 per cent of parents would change about their service is cost. A reassuring 26 per cent said they wouldn't change a thing.

Paying for public holidays is, however, a bug bear with a loud 72 per cent of families claiming it is unfair of providers to charge fees on public holidays. Despite this 75 per cent think it is fine to charge late fees for parents who arrive after 6pm.
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Being a Mum
What does it mean to you?
At this time of year, everyone goes mad buying cards, flowers and other gifts for Mothers' Day. It's when we mums are celebrated and thanked for what we do, every day, for the majority of our adult life. We're simply doing what women have done since the beginning of time. We're mothering like our mums did, as did their mums before them. And so it goes on.

It's nice to be appreciated though isn't it? To have one or two days of the year (i.e., Mothers Day and our birthday) when it's all about us. When our kids might stop for a minute and think about what we actually do for them. Because let's face it, being a mum means putting everyone else first.

Everyone knows that being a mum has its ups and downs; trials and tribulations; successes and epic fails.

It can be amazing and heart-breaking at the same time. We would all put ourselves in our child's place, rather than have him or her go through pain and heartache.

Being a mum is a life's work too…babies are not just for Christmas. You can't give them back when they start to get older, give you backchat, demand money, time, energy, the use of the family car, their own car, or need bailing out from dangerous or inappropriate situations. We're still there giving advice about relationships, motherhood, marriage, divorce and everything in between well into our dotage. Being a mum NEVER stops. We will worry about our kids until the day we die.

It's a rollercoaster ride that can be utterly exhausting at times, elating at others and generally draining, but it's a privilege, a wonderful gift, a journey of a lifetime. To bring a baby into the world, or adopt one as your own and know that you would literally lay down our own life for that little person is truly amazing when you think about it.

Sometimes it's difficult to really put your finger on what it means to you to be a mum. So we asked a few of our past and present mum interviewees to tell us in their own words - serious and amusing - what being a mum means to them.
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