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|Title:||Contested, corporatised and confused? Australian attitudes to child care|
|Keywords:||Early childhood education -- Australia.|
Child care -- Australia.
|Publisher:||Sydney University Press|
|Citation:||Kids Count: Better early childhood education and care in Australia|
|Abstract:||Controversies about child care have been much in the news in Australia in recent times. Some commentators have damned the very existence of child care for very young children, using cortisol studies, among other evidence, to argue that formal care is positively harmful (Manne 2006). Yet despite these rather dire warnings, more and more Australian families are using child care – and finding the system complex, difficult to navigate, and increasingly unaffordable (Anderson 2006; Farouque, 2006; Halliday & Dunn 2006).1 Meanwhile, the business press reports that Australian-owned ABC Learning has grown to become the world’s largest listed company providing child care (Potts 2006). With around 900 centres, ABC Learning now controls an estimated 20 per cent of all long day care centres in Australia (O’Loughlin 2007). The rapid expansion of this and other corporate providers has reopened debate about what kind of organisations are best suited to providing child care services. This chapter explores what Australians think about child care, to provide a context for interpreting these media reports and for thinking about policy options. I explore three questions: where do Australians stand on working mothers and child care for young children, and how have these views changed over time? What kinds of organisations do Australians think are best to deliver child care? And what kinds of rationales for public subsidies for child care do Australians support? Understanding what Australians think about child care is useful, because insofar as attitudes are not currently well-understood or irrevocably fixed, there are clear opportunities for political and social actors to lead the childcare policy debate in new directions.|
|Rights and Permissions:||Copyright Sydney University Press|
|Type of Work:||Book chapter|
|Appears in Collections:||Kids Count: Better early childhood education and care in Australia|
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