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|Title:||Childcare provision: Whose responsibility? Who pays?|
|Keywords:||Early childhood education -- Australia.|
Child care -- Australia.
|Publisher:||Sydney University Press|
|Citation:||Kids Count: Better early childhood education and care in Australia|
|Abstract:||Recent debates about the provision of child care for children of below school age have focused on issues relating to children, to families, to social capital building and to financial return on investment. The first of these is concerned with providing for children’s growth and development and focuses on the enhancement of skills and experiences conducive to furthering children’s capacity as learners. Early learning provides a critical underpinning for subsequent social and academic success (Shonkoff & Phillips 2000). For example, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), identified that 4–5 years olds who had not participated in educational programs prior to school were performing less well on measures of early literacy and numeracy (Harrison & Ungerer 2005). Issues around social capital building recognise that a focus on the early years, particularly for socially disadvantaged families, subsequently reaps long-term benefits in terms of improvement in educational outcomes, increased economic self-sufficiency, crime reduction and improvement in family relationships and health (Bruner 2004; Karoly et al. 1998, Lynch 2004; Schweinhart 2005). Family circumstances include those associated with social disadvantage, child protection and disability. Martin (2003) identified that the childcare system in Australia returned over $1.86 per dollar spent to the government’s ‘bottom line’ through increased taxation revenue and reduced social assistance outlays. Martin also recognised the potential for such investment to have a ripple effect through society and, consequently, to facilitate social capital building. The Australian Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy and the NSW Department of Community Services Early Intervention Program have both welfare and social reform agendas but little attention has truly been given to financial and social return on investment.|
|Appears in Collections:||Kids Count: Better early childhood education and care in Australia|
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