Knowing the costs of raising a child in Australia is integral to determining the child support payable by a parent. It would be ineffectual to mandate payment of child support if it does not meet the child’s needs.
The cost of raising children which the Child Support Agency uses in assessing child support is based on Australian research.
The Child Support Scheme was introduced in 1988 and since then there have been many developments in the care of children. For one, it was discovered that the cost of raising children grew higher as time passed by. Also, the need for parents to have shared parental responsibility over their child brought on many changes to the care and support given to a child.
An Independent Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support found out in 2006 that the Child Support Scheme needed to be updated in order to accommodate the shared parental responsibility principle and to upgrade the cost of raising a child that is needed for the child support formula.
It was found out that the cost of raising children is lower than raising teenagers. It was also discovered that children who belonged to the higher income bracket families cost more to raise than those children who belonged to the lower income household. Another significant finding is that a second child or subsequent child cost less to raise than the first child which is contrary to the misconception that raising a second child would double the cost.
The researches on costs of raising a child that were conducted in Australia and other countries were compared with each other to determine which is the most reliable and consistent. This is actually one of the methodologies used by the Taskforce to determine the cost of raising a child in Australia.
Another methodology by the Taskforce was the budget standards which required an estimate of how much a family needs to spend to maintain their standard of living. The third methodology used was the expenditure survey that utilized records from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The records dug up by the taskforce pertained to how much families spent on raising their children. The research, data gathering and statistics enabled the Task Force to make a recommendation of a new way of calculating child support that is based on the costs of raising a child.