The HILDA Survey found 52% of single-parent households with children aged under four used formal childcare in 2016, however by 2018 this participation had dropped to only 35%. The same trend was not recorded among coupled parents.
The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent said, “The new HILDA survey makes it very clear that the early learning system is not working for all children and families.
“It is unacceptable that the rising cost of early learning and care is pricing out single-parent households from early learning and care, impeding so many children from reaching their full potential and preventing women from being able to develop financial security.
“This survey is a wake up call for the Federal Government to urgently introduce universal access to high quality early learning and care before this growing inequality becomes further entrenched.
“They have repeatedly said that the cost of ECEC has reduced and is manageable. The HILDA survey shows - even before COVID-19 hit - that is just not true.
“Every Australian child deserves to access high quality early learning and care, regardless of their parent’s income or where they live.
“There are mountains of evidence that the early years are critical for how well children develop and their future health, wellbeing and social participation.
“We cannot accept a two-tier system of early learning and care where a lack of money restricts parents’ employment opportunities and places hurdles in the way of children getting the best possible start in life,” she said.
Access the full HILDA Survey here: