The costs of childcare in Australia is one of the highest in the OECD but with one of the lowest participation rates

Financial vulnerability poses many negative impacts on families and children however unique challenges such as the cost of childcare and property settlement and parenting matters, appear to present children with more challenges than merely being reared by married parents.

Recent research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) revealed that while mothers have increasingly moved into paid work (both full and part-time work, increasing from 43% in 1981 to 63% in 2009), the reliance on formal childcare for preschool age children has also increased (from 29% in 1987 to 45% in 2002). And the costs of childcare in Australia is one of the highest in the OECD but with one of the lowest participation rates (according to the Australian and ABC Fact checker).

In Australia, studies show that family instability is associated with a host of negative outcomes for children even among children in higher income households.

In the US the Cohabitation-Go-Round study provides fresh evidence that financial disadvantages impacting children born outside of marriage and that cohabitation is less likely to deliver family stability for children, compared to marriage. For single parents disadvantage associated with lower income compared to coupled parents is a simple example. The study highlights the potential financial vulnerability to which people in longer term cohabitation may be exposed and some of the difficulties faced by parents in settling property and parenting matters.

PREPARE/ENRICH has several resources to help you unpack and mine the assessment results around money.


  • DeRose, L. Lyons-Amos, M.; Wilcox, W.B.; and Huarcaya, G. 2017: The Cohabitation-Go-Round: Cohabitation and Family Stability Across the Globe, Social Trends Institute, World Family Map 2017.
  • Hayes, A., Weston, R., Qu, L., & Gray, M. 2010. Families then and now: 1980-2010 (Facts Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Parkinson, P. & Kazzi, A. 2008, For Kids Sake: Repairing the Social Environment for Australian Children and Young People: Sydney University
  • Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2013). Working out relationships (Australian Family Trends No. 3). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Bita, Natascha 2015: Australias childcare system among world’s most expensive: OECD, The Australian, November 25, 2015.

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

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