"A new childcare study by researchers at the University of Adelaide indicates that paid parental leave may be a counter-productive policy," FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today.
The study has found that children who regularly attend childcare centres in the first three years of life are more likely to develop behavioural problems by the time they start school. They are more likely than children cared for by their parents or nannies to become hyperactive, disruptive and aggressive.
These findings are in line with longitudinal US and UK research - which also shows that these negative behaviours continue through school years, disrupting the education of the children themselves and those around them.
"Paid parental leave for six months, funded by the taxpayer, acts as an incentive for women to rejoin the workforce when their children are very young," Ros Phillips said. "They have to use childcare for their toddlers if they want to get paid leave when they have their next baby. But they may be placing at risk the education of their children, as well as those of other children around them.
"Increasing rates of very young children in childcare will mean that more children will receive a less effective education, leading to lower productivity. Is this what the federal government really wants?" Ros Phillips asked.
- Family and parenthood