Informal Care

Cathy Frazer, Diane GIBSON, Cathy Hales, Anne Jenkins

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


Informal assistance provided by family and friends is the main source of non-parental care of children and care for people with a disability. Shifts in the extent to which the responsibility for such care has fallen to the community or the state throughout Australia’s history since European settlement have been presented in Australia’s Welfare 1993 (AIHW 1993) and more recently by Fine (1999). In the early colonial days, government-sponsored orphanages cared for the children of ‘unsuitable mothers’ and working single fathers. Private boarding of children led to the passing of protective legislation for children in the 1870s. Between Federation and 1970, the family was seen as the central institution in the care of children; however, widespread adoption practices and the operation of orphanages and other large-scale residential facilities for children continued until the middle of the 20th century. Formal child care services expanded during the 1970s, beginning with the passing of the Community Child Care Act in 1972 and followed by implementation of a National Child Care Strategy in 1988. Now, family day care and some forms of home-based child care are part of the system
of formal child care services along with institutional-based care such as long day care. Informal care of children is the unregulated care of children by other than the nonresident parent, that is primarily provided by grandparents, other relatives and friends.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralia`s Welfare 2003
EditorsDiane Gibson, Richard Madden, Anny Stuer
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare
Number of pages55
ISBN (Electronic)13211455
ISBN (Print)174024334X
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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