Lower-class parents are twice as likely to have unmet childcare needs – research

ESRI finds unmet needs greatest among lower-class families, households in poverty

The research from the ESRI and commissioned by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, uses data from a 2016 survey of over 5,000 households and 13,000 individuals Photograph: iStock

The research from the ESRI and commissioned by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, uses data from a 2016 survey of over 5,000 households and 13,000 individuals Photograph: iStock

 

Lower-class parents are twice as likely to have unmet childcare needs as middle and higher-class parents, according to new research.

Just under a quarter of lone-parent families and one-fifth of families with an adult with a disability have unmet needs for childcare in comparison to households of working-age parents where both are present (13 per cent).

The research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and commissioned by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, uses data from a 2016 survey of over 5,000 households and 13,000 individuals .

It finds that unmet childcare needs are greatest among lower-class families, households in poverty, lone-parent families and families with an adult who has a disability.

The most commonly reported reason for unmet childcare needs was unaffordability.

In households with children at risk of poverty, 21 per cent have unmet childcare needs compared to 15 per cent for households not at risk of poverty.

Over 90 per cent of lone-parent families cited unaffordability as the reason for unmet childcare needs, while 82 per cent of families with an adult with a disability reported the same.

Commonly reported reasons

The research also finds that among working-age adults who need professional home care, 83 per cent have an unmet need. The figure was lower among older adults (65 plus) at 61 per cent.

Households with unmet needs for home care are more likely to report poverty and basic deprivation (41 per cent) compared to 23 per cent of households with a met need.

The most commonly reported reasons for unmet home care needs was lack of availability of services (29 per cent) followed by affordability (15 per cent).

Bertrand Maitre, an author of the report said childcare and home care have “significant implications” for policies tied to social inclusion.

“Access to services is important to the quality of life of the direct recipients of the service and to their carers.

“The Updated National Action Plan for Social Inclusion specifically outlines improving access to services as a goal.

“This report reveals which group finds it difficult to access care services and the reasons for this difficulty.”