Dr Kay Cook from RMIT and Dr Michelle Brady have succeeded in obtaining Australian Research Council funding to examine childcare arrangements in Australian families.
Cook, from RMIT's Centre for Applied Social Research, and Brady, from The University of Queensland, will conduct the first qualitative longitudinal study on Australian families’ experiences of childcare.
This University of Queensland-led Discovery Project will bring together a number of key perspectives to explore how flexible childcare arrangements might be successfully implemented in Australia.
The need for flexible childcare arrangements is a growing issue in Australia.
While consecutive governments have attempted to find solutions, both a lack of understanding about parents’ needs for affordable, quality care and government and service provider requirements for cost effectiveness have hindered these attempts.
Traditional childcare in Australia is structured around a conventional 9-5 work day; however this falls short for an increasing number of parents who are involved in shift work and casual employment.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008) data show that in families in which both parents work, half of these had at least one parent working non-standard hours, and fifteen per cent had both parents working shifts on weekends as well as weekdays. One third of employed single parents worked on weekends.
This project will be the first of its kind to map how the experiences and perspectives of families, service providers and government align and differ as a first step towards developing a timely, feasible and cost effective strategy to move towards flexible childcare.