Community child care vs. private: How to choose the best child care

Community child care vs. private: How to choose the best child care

Choosing child care is a big decision

Are you making a choice about child care? A growing body of research shows early education is just as important as schooling. This research links high quality early education to better social, cognitive and language development outcomes for children, especially vulnerable children. At Community Child Care Association, we recommend choosing quality not-for-profit, community-owned child care.

What is not-for-profit, community-owned child care?

There are many different types of child care services, including long day care, outside school hours care (OSHC), kindergarten, family day care and occasional care. These can all be community-owned services. 

Community-owned child care is ‘owned’ by parent committees, councils, community groups or not-for-profit organisations, rather than individual shareholders. Their main aim is to deliver high quality education and care, and any profit is invested back into the service, to benefit children and families. In a private child care service, a percentage of profit is delivered to owners, directors and shareholders.

Community child care vs. private child care? (Or public vs. private)

CCC research has shown that community-owned child care services provide better quality education and care than for-profit companies. We’re not surprised! We support community-owned and not-for-profit child care services because when there are no owners, directors or shareholders waiting on a financial return on their investment, services can spend more time and money focussing on children’s development and wellbeing.

Choosing quality child care for your children

CCC research* shows that not-for-profits are far outperforming the national averages, delivering higher quality services for Australian children and families. Forty-two per cent of not-for-profits in our study are rated Exceeding in educational programming and practice, compared with the national average of 18%. That’s huge!

Why we love community-owned child care centres

Community-owned services can be a great place to enrol a child because:

  • Children – not profits – always come first

  • Families have influence on decisions about what is best for their child, including decisions about how the service’s profits are spent

  • The committee of management is drawn from the community, so local issues are better understood and can be responded to by making use of local resources

  • All families from the community have access to the service, and families facing difficulty have direct access to other services in the community.

Is my child care centre community-owned and/or not-for-profit?

If you’re not sure if your child care centre is community-owned and/or not-for-profit, the best thing to do is ask.
See more questions you can ask when choosing a quality early childhood service.

Find your local community-owned or not-for-profit child care centre

Get in touch on (03) 9486 3455 for help finding a local community-owned or not-for-profit child care centre in your area.

Did you know that CCC helped set up the first community-owned early childhood and OSHC services in the country? You can read more about that in our history.

*In 2021 we collected data from hundreds of Australian not-for-profit and community-owned services in our Trends in Community Services Survey (TICCSS), including data from different types of child care centres. The statements on this page are based on a comparison between TICCSS data and ACECQA national averages.