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The Importance of High-Quality Child-Care

by on January 9, 2014

According to a study by Bronwen Dalton and Rachel Wilson, there is insufficient reliable or comparable information on the quality of child care services available. This is because Australia has a relatively under-developed and under-resourced child care quality assessment regime. In this relative information vacuum, mother’s choices about child care can be particularly affected by dominant constructions of what constitutes ‘quality child care’ in the public sphere. According to Bronwen, “media attention to issues such as the affordability and availability of centre-based child care and the physical environment in child care centres far outweighs the attention given to the quality of care provided. This has provided an opportunity for large corporate players with mass marketing strategies to invest more in image marking than quality care.”

A lack of suitable child care is a major issue driving high staff turnover of women. According to another study by Bronwen Dalton and Rachel Wilson on job satisfaction among nurses, a predominantly female workforce, high levels of nursing staff turnover have placed increasing pressure on the healthcare systems. The impact of high turnover in nursing staff and related nursing skills shortages has been wide-ranging; from reducing the effectiveness and productivity of health organisations to reducing access to services and the quality of patient care. Bronwen said “a major factor driving decisions to leave the workforce was due to incompatibility of working hours and carer responsibilities”. This highlights the need to develop affordable, available and high quality child care to accommodate carers not only in health but across the Australian economy.

Dalton, B. & Wilson, R. (2009).Improving quality in Australian child care: the role of the media and non-profit providers. In King, Debra Meagher, Gabrielle~ (Eds.), Paid Care in Australia: Politics, Profits, Practices, (pp. 203-230). Sydney: Sydney University Press.

Dalton, B., Wilson, R. &Harvison, J. (2009).‘Job satisfaction and HR issues for nurses in non-profit, non-hospital settings’,Employment Relations Record, 9(1), 1-18.

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