The survey reveals the views of 1623 parents on the child care system, the options for and the cost of child care, child care tax rebate and why there’s still no tax rebate on nannies.

It’s been interesting to see that there has been some improvement in the time it takes for parents to find child care. The survey has also backed up Bronwyn Bishop’s inquiry into work and family issues: It revealed parents need help with the cost of child care; that they believe all child care should be tax deductible and that nannies and au pairs should qualify as approved child care to help make working more financially viable.

Types Of Child Care Used

The majority of parents polled (84 per cent) use child care because they were working full or part time, but 37 per cent believed it to also be good for a child’s development.

Many of the parents surveyed used more than one form of child care. This is either due to formal child care not available for all days needed; to balance out costs or for convenience and flexibility
  • 74 per cent parents use long day child care centres
  • 22 per cent parents rely on grandparents, other family members or friends
  • 11 per cent parents have children in preschool
  • 10.5 per cent parents use family day care or in-home care
  • 8.2 per cent employ nannies or au pairs
Finding Child Care Is Becoming Less Difficult

Despite the apparent lack of child care places, the CareforKids.com.au survey revealed that parents had found it easier this year to find child care places than last year:
  • Just under 30 per cent found child care between one and three months
  • 26 per cent found child care immediately
  • 26 per cent took 6-12 months (compared to 30% last year)
  • 17 per cent took between 12 and 18 months (compared to 24% last year)
  • And 47 per cent of parents said they found child care difficult or extremely difficult to find compared with 55% last year.
It’s very interesting that child care seems to be getting easier to find, although 47 per cent of disgruntled parents is still a very high number!

This could be due to parents using different options and balancing types of care, and also due to services like our Vacancy Alert (a unique matching service that links parents directly to child care providers with suitable places), which is proving very successful in helping parents find child care places quickly.

It’s known that the competition for child care centre vacancies is very high in some areas and parents can expect to wait up to two years to find a vacancy for their child. However, our unique mapping system has also discovered that in many areas there are child care places which simply don’t get advertised.

Until we launched Vacancy Alert there was no real, centralised support to help connect families directly to child care vacancies, but hopefully our system alongside government initiatives is starting to make an impact.

There is a desperate need for regulation on a local government level so that new centres are built where there is proven demand. Our Vacancy Alert is the only system in the country that measures unmet demand.

Cost Of Child Care On The Increase

As the cost of housing and living increases in Australia, financial necessity is the main motivator for returning to work after children according to 66 per cent of respondents, but the biggest gripe parents have with child care is the cost – 64 per cent of parents surveyed said they would like the cost of child care reduced.
  • 42 per cent of parents paid over $200 per week this year, compared to 38 per cent in 2006 (over 20 per cent now pay over $300 per week)
  • 14.5 per cent of parents said financial complexity and working out whether it was worth working was one of the hardest things about returning to work
  • 54 per cent of parents said they would return to work earlier if child care was more affordable and available
With most parents returning to work through financial necessity, and given the need to keep women in the workforce to grow the economy as needed, it’s not surprising that 97 per cent of parents surveyed believe ALL child care should be tax deductible.

Motherguilt Is The Principal Difficulty In Returning To Work

33 per cent of CareforKids.com.au respondents said that “motherguilt” was the element they found most difficult about returning to work, closely followed by general logistics of organising days around childcare and work (26 per cent) and independence (17 per cent). Only eight per cent stated the reason for going back to work as a necessity for career progression.

Nannies Should Be Deemed Approved Child Care

Fifty per cent of parents surveyed believe the child care benefit system/qualifications for benefit are not fair and in particular, 85 per cent believe nannies and au pairs should qualify as approved child care (84.8 per cent).

Nannies currently account for just over eight per cent of child care used, but we can see from daily demand on the site that they are the second most requested (and most increasing) service after formal child care centres yet they’re not even deemed approved child care, which is ludicrous.

Many parents who are not able to get places in suitable child care centres choose nannies as a second option. And for many parents, particularly those with more than one child find nannies more economically viable. Nannies are also often chosen by parents with children who have specific needs or disabilities. They also mean that parents don’t have to run around from one child care centre to another dropping off and picking up children.

About this survey

This survey was the second CareforKids.com.au Annual Child Care 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.

The 2007 survey was completed by over 1623 parents. Click here to view 2006 results

Provision of data to FACSIA

Upon release of the survey results on Monday 12th March 2007 we were contacted by the Deptartment of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FACSIA) requesting all data collected from this survey. We have of course obliged. Many respondents provided in-depth and often impassioned feedback in the survey. We felt it was important that the Department also have access to these comments. Please note that no contact information was included and that all information was made available under condition that the information be used for satistical purposes only and that they agree to abide by our *Privacy Policy.