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This paper provides a summary of the key findings from this evaluation into meeting the needs of parents who work non-standard or variable work hours and who may have difficulties finding child care that supports such work hours.
Given the importance of child care in enabling parents to engage in paid work, there has been a recent policy focus in Australia on meeting the needs of parents who work non-standard or variable work hours and who may have difficulties finding care that supports such work hours. Interest in the extent to which child care is flexible enough to meet the needs of parents who work non-standard or variable hours led to the development of the Child Care Flexibility Trials, a project conducted by the Australian Government in 2013 and 2014. One of the objectives of these trials was to gain greater understanding about parents’ and service providers’ perspectives on flexible child care. The other main objective was to test a number of approaches to the delivery of flexible child care, with a focus on families whose needs did not fit with standard models of child care delivery. A key aspect of this was to explore the level of demand for greater flexibility and whether this demand could be met in the long term in a sustainable and replicable way.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) was commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the trials. The evaluation measured the extent to which the goals and expected outcomes of the trials were achieved, and was based on interviews with and surveys of parents, service providers and other key stakeholders. This paper provides a summary of the key findings from this evaluation.