Large growth in outside school hours care

Government-funded places in outside school hours care have increased nine-fold since 1982, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, Outside School Hours Care Services: Australia 1996, shows that 72,000 places were available last year in before school care, after school care and vacation care, compared with 7,900 places in 1982.

Report author Paul Meyer said that the large increase in places was the result of increased emphasis given by governments to these services since 1988.

'For example, the 1994 National Child Care Strategy, which is still being implemented, has allocated 40,000 new places to outside school hours care.'

Mr Meyer said that Outside School Hours Care Services: Australia 1996 also examines the roles of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments in the provision and delivery of the various components of outside school hours care.

'We show in the report how national standards, which have been adopted for the industry, are being implemented by each State and Territory.'

Other findings in the report include:

  • While the national standards specify that half of the labour force should be qualified, one-third of staff in this sector presently hold formal qualifications, and a further one-third are working towards qualifications.
  • Some States and Territories have staff to children ratios of 1:10 and 1:12, easily exceeding the national staff ratio standard of 1:15.
  • Most outside school hours services are run by non-profit organisations, but some vacation care services are now being offered by commercial enterprises.


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