Evaluation, inquiries and strategic policy

Regular evaluations and inquiries contribute to policy and ensure that early childhood and child care supports and programs continue to meet the needs of children and families.

Evaluation of the child care package

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), is conducting an independent evaluation of the child care package (the Package), introduced on 2 July 2018.

Between 2018 and 2021, the AIFS will collect and analyse a range of information to examine the impact of the Package on families, services and providers. This will include:

  • Information collected from surveys of:
    • Parents, grandparents and guardians
    • Child care services
  • Interviews with:
    • Child care providers
    • Other key stakeholders
  • Analysis of administrative data

The AIFS' partners are the:

  • Centre for Social Research and Methods at the Australian National University
  • Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales
  • Social Research Centre

The Early Monitoring Report from the evaluation of the Child Care Package is based on data collected when the Package was introduced. It:

  • Captures the views of stakeholders at transition
  • Provides a baseline against which further findings can be analysed over the course of the evaluation

Productivity Commission Inquiry into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning (2014)

In 2014, the Productivity Commission looked into future options for child care and early childhood learning, with a focus on developing a system that supports:

  • Modern families' working circumstances
  • Children's learning and development needs

The inquiry received 908 submissions and 1173 online comments.

After the Productivity Commission report was released, there were further consultations.

The Jobs for Families Child Care Package was released in response to the report as part of the 2015-16 Budget.

Australian Government Response to the Jobs for Families Child Care Package Report (2015)

The Australian Government's response to the Productivity Commission report highlights a commitment to providing:

  • Parents with more choice and opportunity to work
  • Children with high-quality early education

Australian Government Response to the Jobs for Families Child Care Package Report (2016)

An October 2016 report into the Child Care Package looked at changes to 2 Bills:

  • Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Bill 2016
  • Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2016

The Government's response to the report noted that reform to the child care system contained in the Jobs for Families Child Care Package would provide a simpler, more affordable, accessible and flexible child care system.

Ministerial Advisory Council for Child Care and Early Learning

Between July 2014 and June 2017, the Ministerial Advisory Council for Child Care and Early Learning was established to provide a forum where:

  • Strategic policies affecting the child care and early learning sector could be considered
  • Informative consultation with the sector could take place

The Council met three times per year and provided expert advice on matters affecting the child care and early learning sector, including proposed or current legislation and policies.