Annual Report 2007‚Äď2008

Child care trends over time

Child care trends over time were reported using information from all four waves of the Growing Up in Australia study (Waves 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5). At each wave, information was obtained on the types of non-parental child care the child was attending, and how many hours in total the child attended per week.

B cohort

Figure 6 presents the use of child care by type of child care and age. From the figure, the changing pattern of child care use for the B cohort can be observed. The biggest change came between 0-1 year and 1-2 years, when the number of children using child care almost doubled. There was also a large change from age 2-3 years to 3-4 years, which corresponds with the start of preschool/kindergarten. Half of the children were attending preschool in Wave 2.5.

Figure 6: Use of child care - graph

Notes: Children could attend more than one type of care. Not all cases present at each wave.

Figure 6: Use of child care, by age, B cohort

Almost four in ten children were in long day care when aged 3-4 years - slightly less than when aged 2-3 years (43%). Proportions in family day care increased between the ages of 0-1 year and 1-2 years and then remained around 8-10% up to when the children were aged 3-4 years.

Grandparent care remained fairly stable over time, with more than one in five children being looked after by their grandparents on a regular basis when aged 3-4 years. The highest rate of grandparent care occurred when children were 1-2 years (29%).

Nine per cent of children aged 3-4 years did not attend any type of regular child care or preschool, as shown in Figure 6, falling considerably from the 32% of children aged 2-3 years who did not attend any type of child care.

Over time, the length of time spent in child care increased (Figure 7), although the proportion in full-term care (30 hours or more) remained low at 14% when the children were aged 3-4 years.

Figure 7: Hours spent per week in child care - graph

Note: Not all cases present at each wave.

Figure 7: Hours spent per week in child care, by age, B cohort

K cohort

At Wave 2.5, 70% of the 7-8 year old children did not attend any regular care outside of school hours (Figure 8). Of those who did, the most common care was provided at a school (15% of all children), followed by home-based care by a relative, friend or nanny (14%). This pattern was a change from when the children were aged 6-7 years, with double the proportion of children using care at a school once they were aged 7-8 years.

Figure 8: Use of care before or after school - graph

Notes: Children can attend more than one type of care. Not all cases present at each wave.

Figure 8: Use of care before or after school, by age, K cohort

Figure 9 shows the average hours of care2 outside school or preschool that children were reported to have received at the four points of data collection. Children gradually attended less care as they grew older, due to their movement into school.

Figure 9: Hours of child care outside of school - graph

Note: Not all cases present at each wave.

Figure 9: Hours spent per week in child care outside of school or preschool, by age, K cohort


Footnote

2 Hours attending a day care centre with a preschool program were included for Wave 1.


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