Child Care Attendance Numbers in 2019
An Increase in Child Care Services Attendance Numbers
According to the recently released Report on Government Services 2020, the number of Australian Government Child Care Benefit approved child care services shows a significant increase of 1.6 percent in 2019 from the previous year. More specifically, 1,304,002 children aged 0-12 years have attended these services in Australia in the last year.
The quality rating of the National Quality Framework approved services has also increased. According to information from June 30th 2019, 79.2 percent of the approved services were rated as Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard, an increase from 77.9 percent on the same date in 2018.
The Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector provides various services for children of different age, education level, development and care needs.
The main division of this sector is child care and preschool services. Child care services refer to educational and care services for children 0-12 years old. Preschool services are specialised programs which prepare children for full-time schooling. In addition, the ECEC provides integrated service including preschool programs delivered within centre-based care.
Apart from educational, the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector offers non-educational services. The most often used are family support and maternal and child health services. These services take precedence in the disadvantaged communities, as opposed to the high socioeconomic neighbourhoods.
An increase in the number of children using ECEC
13,008 of the child care services in Australia were approved by the Australian Government in 2019. When compared with the 11,695 approved ECEC services in 2018, there is a clear boost in these numbers.
Most of the child care services approved in 2018 were centre-based care. More specifically, 63.8 percent of ECEC services fell within this category. The remaining services were classified as preschool services – either standalone or attached to schools.
533,889 children were enrolled in a preschool program in 2018. The age of entry in a preschool program in the year before full-time schooling is generally between 4 and 5 years old. Over 50% (296,932) of the children in the age bracket attended this type of program in 2018. However, there were also a number of children attending a three-year-old preschool program, in the same year.
The increasing numbers in the ECEC sector are generally due to the increase in funding. Yet, not all child care services receive the Australian Government funding. There are also ECEC services funded by State and Territory governments and some child care services that are not funded at all.
The Total Funding from the Governments has risen in 2019
The total Australian, State and Territory government recurrent and capital expenditure on ECEC services amounted to $9.8 billion in 2018/2019. Comparatively, with the $9.4 total expenditure in 2017/2018, there is an increase in numbers favourable to ECEC services users.
The Australian Government covered 80 percent of the total expenditure amount. More specifically, the Australian Government accounted for $7.9 billion, whereas the State and Territory government covered the remaining part or $2.0 billion. The allocation of $431.5 million from the Australian to the State and Territory governments in 2018/2019 through the NP UAECE is considered a contribution from the State and Territory governments.
From the total expenditures, 85.8 percent were accounted to Australian preschool services.
Objectives for the Early Childhood Education and Care services
The ECEC services’ main aim is to provide universal access to high quality and affordable early childhood education and care services. To satisfy the various needs of different family types, the ECEC services aim to be flexible and adjustable across a variety of conditions.
Apart from meeting the education, development and care needs of the children, the main aim of these services is to create a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment for the involved participants. The Government’s aim to target participation by and access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
Finally, meeting these objectives needs to be done in a fair, yet efficient manner. As previously shown by the increasing numbers, the Governments are certainly on the right path of achieving and increasing the standards of the ECEC services. Call us today to discuss your childcare needs 07 5592 5800.