A child care revolution
In the 1970s there were less than 700 child care places for the 700,000 Victorian mothers in paid work. A small but determined group of women led a revolution, setting up and supporting Australia’s first community-based child care centres.
These parents and professionals founded Community Child Care Association in 1971. For our founding women, child care was not just a question of numbers. Founding members like Winsome McCaughey AO dreamed of a new form of child care: quality, community-based care that brought parents and communities together.
In those days, we were a lone voice standing up for the rights of mothers in paid work to access quality community-based care for their children. As they now say, it takes a village to raise a child.
Times were a-changin’
In the ‘70s, Australian men were the breadwinners and the head of the household. Women needed a male guarantor to buy property, and female public servants had to retire when they married. But times were changing – globally, women and people of colour were fighting for their rights. More and more Victorian mothers were entering paid work.
The members of Community Child Care Association brought their own research and knowledge together to create the Community Child Care Manual – a down-to-the-detail guide for parents on how to set up and manage a neighbourhood house. In 1971, we organised a sit-in demonstration outside the offices of the Victorian Housing Commission to advocate for the lack of safe play spaces for children. By 1979 Community Child Care Association had helped set up the first 50 neighbourhood centres in Victoria.
A champion for quality and community-owned services
For fifty years, Community Child Care Association has been a strong voice for community-owned services and quality education and care for all children.
In 1982, Community Child Care Association and other state organisations founded the NACBCS (now known as ACCS) to advocate for community-owned care at a national level. Against fierce opposition, we continually campaigned for community-owned services when massive for-profit corporations threatened their survival.
Community Child Care Association has been a voice behind progress ever since – with the sector winning universal access to kindergarten in 2008, the establishment of the National Quality Framework in 2009, and the history-making universal access to kindergarten for three-year-olds in Victoria in 2019.
In 2016 we began leading the Victorian Inclusion Agency, which provides inclusion support to all Victorian education and care services. In 2019 the Victorian Inclusion Agency supported 3,132 service leaders and educator teams with a visit from an Inclusion Professional.
We continue to campaign for policy change – including equal pay for educators and continued funding for the NQF.