In 2011, an estimated 945 534 children aged 0-12 years attended government-approved child care in Australia. The number has increased since 2009. Overall, approximately 1.9 million children receive some kind of formal or informal care.
The number of Australian children attending child care has increased dramatically in the past few years, because of the growing number of working parents. This has led to an increased demand for child care places.
For many families, child care is a juggling act. Many use two or more forms of care – often a formal service, such as a long day care centre, along with support from relatives, friends, nannies or babysitters.
In 2011, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, families of children aged 0-11 years used child care in the following ways:
In 2011, approximately 370 000 children attended more than one form of child care each week. Reasons parents gave for this were that:
- there were limited hours available at the service of their choice
- they wanted their child to have contact with other family members
- they couldn’t afford to use more formal child care
- having two forms of care was more convenient to the family
- they wanted their child to experience a variety of situations and relationships.