Parents views on their use of multiple and changeable care - Using computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) in the Child Care Choices (CCC) study

This study uses longitudinal telephone survey data gathered from using a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) facility to examine families’ use of multiple and changeable patterns of child care over the prior-to-school years. Despite the increasing use of multiple care arrangements, little is understood about why parents use mixed care or change the care arrangements for their child. Six-hundred and seventy-seven children and families were recruited from long day care centres and family day care schemes in metropolitan and rural New South Wales with 257 families participating in all six waves of the study. A factor analysis on the reasons offered by parents for their use of multiple care revealed two main factors: (1) families were in control of their child care choice or (2) families chose child care in response to outward pressure. The majority of children in all age groups did not change child care arrangements with most of the rest changing once only. Most parents felt that changing their child’s care arrangement was their choice although a substantial minority of parents felt the change was definitely out of their control. Parental choice may be an important factor in perceptions of quality in child care.

Key Phrase: childcare, multiple care, changeable care, parent choice, urban-rural