Affordable childcare provides temporary relief to single parents from the responsibility of looking after their children. So, childcare allows single parents to work and earn a living. Unfortunately, childcare is expensive. A typical Australian family spends, on average, about A$6,000 per year on childcare.
About 1 in 7 families in Australia are one-parent families, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Most of these single-parent families need nonparental childcare, such as preschools, childcare centres, or informal arrangements to care for the kids while the parent is at work.
But if a single parent can’t afford childcare, he or she can’t participate in Australia’s paid workforce. And dire consequences can stem from that.
Let us look at the different reasons why affordable childcare is of utmost importance.
Reasons Why Affordable Childcare is Important
Affordable Childcare Promotes Human Resource Development
Early childhood is that period in a human’s life from birth to eight years of age. It is during this time that your brain development is at its peak. At this stage, children are moulded by the people and the environment around them.
Early childhood care and education, therefore, is not merely a way to prepare a child for primary school. It has a more important role in developing a child’s cognitive, emotional, social, and physical skills. These are the skills they will need for lifelong mental health and wellbeing.
Affordable childcare is a crucial ingredient in forming responsible, capable, and caring citizens. It is the first step in promoting human resource development.
Affordable childcare is especially important for disadvantaged families, such as those who come from low-income households or anyone who has experienced financial and social hardships.
Affordable childcare is key to accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals established in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN aims that by 2030, all children will have access to quality early childhood care and education.
It Makes a Family Self-Sufficient
As mentioned earlier, early care allows parents to work. Increasing access to childcare means increasing single parents’ labour force participation.
It is particularly difficult to find full-day and full-year care for infants and toddlers. Early care and education is expensive and public preschools are typically part-day programs.
It is, thus, important to make childcare cheaper and expand the time children spend in childcare. This enables parents to earn their living and reduce their odds of depending on welfare programs.
Affordable Childcare Promotes Economic Development
Unemployment is a serious problem that affects an entire country, not just the unemployed individual and their families. The individual loses income and faces physical and mental health problems as well.
The effect of unemployment on society and the country is even more complex. Society could experience a higher crime rate. The government, as evidenced by the current unemployment due to the pandemic, will need to pay unemployment assistance. Apart from that, the country will also experience a loss of workers, reducing the gross domestic product (GDP).
Enhancing childcare options for single-parent families, therefore, would generate benefits for everyone. It increases the parent’s income, provides employers with productive workers, produces an educated workforce, and promotes a better economy.