Cost not only child-care issue – it’s quality, says book

Sydney Morning Herald November 12, 2007
INCREASING payments to parents to cover the expense of child care will only drive up costs and do nothing to improve the quality of care children receive, a new book says. While boosting the child-care rebate will give parents immediate relief from climbing fees, the book by a team of academics says it will not help the other big problem – accessibility.
…The authors argue that Australia’s child-care system has been developed as a prop for the labour market rather than with children’s development and educational needs in mind. Because of this, the authors argue, Australia lags much of the developed world in providing universal, high-quality care for children who are not yet old enough to attend school. They also criticise the dominance of private child-care providers, such as ABC Learning. “Australian governments should implement a national, universal and integrated early childhood education and care system, particularly for children in the two years prior to starting school, and up to three years for children from disadvantaged backgrounds,” they say.