Programme 1.1 Support for the Child Care System

The objective of this programme is to support child care services so that more families can access quality early childhood education and child care services. The programme helps families to participate in the social and economic life of their communities by:

  • promoting and supporting quality child care
  • assisting service providers to improve access and inclusion for children and families with special or additional needs
  • providing the child care and early learning sector with increased access to professional development to build the capacity of the child care sector
  • supporting the sustainability of child care for all Australian children and families, including in areas and circumstances where services would not otherwise be available
  • developing, providing and disseminating information to assist families to make informed decisions about child care and the related support programmes and services provided or funded by the Government
  • improving the flexibility and accessibility of child care services so they are more responsive to the needs of families.

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Assistant Minister for Education, at the launch of the Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) at Koori Kindermanna Preschool, Glenroy, 2014.
The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Assistant Minister for Education, at the launch of the Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters ( HIPPY) at Koori Kindermanna Preschool, Glenroy, 2014.

Child Care Services Support

The Child Care Services Support Programme provides a range of payments directly to child care service providers to improve access to child care. The main elements of the programme include:

  • community support—delivering improved access to child care by supporting the establishment of new services and the maintenance of existing services, especially in areas where the market would otherwise fail to provide child care services
  • child care quality support—aiming to ensure that children in care have stimulating, positive experiences and interactions that will foster all aspects of their development; and promote quality care for all children in approved child care services
  • inclusion and professional support—promoting and maintaining high-quality care and inclusion for all children in eligible child care services by providing professional development and inclusion support to carers and educators
  • LDCPDP—this $200 million programme assists educators in centre-based long day care services to meet qualification requirements under the NQF and improve quality outcomes for children. Applications for the LDCPDP opened in May 2014 and closed on 13 June 2014. Educators will have three years to use funding they receive under the programme
  • BBF—helps non-mainstream services with the costs of operating child care services.

In addition to the contribution made to providers to operate services, funding is also available under the BBF Quality Measure to upgrade or build new centre-based BBF early childhood services in line with the new National Quality Standards. In 2013–14, around $16.6 million was provided to approximately 62 BBF services across Australia under this initiative.

On 21 March 2014, the Hon Sussan Ley MP announced changes to the CSP which introduced new eligibility criteria for all new family day care service providers applying for CSP funding. The eligibility criteria applied to all new services applying for funding from 1 April 2014.

Feature Story

Budget Based Funded Quality Measure projects at Mary MacKillop Gooddo on Palm Island

In 2013–14, the St Mary MacKillop Gooddo Early Learning Centre on Palm Island received approximately $1 million for infrastructure improvements and workforce assistance under the Budget Based Funded—Improved Standards measure. Assistance is provided to help improve the quality of around 140 Budget Based Funded services so that they can work towards the National Quality Standard for early childhood services.

Infrastructure works at Palm Island included improvements to nursery areas, bottle preparation areas and the kitchen. In the outside play areas funds were used to provide a new outdoor shade structure able to withstand the temperamental tropical weather and a sturdy perimeter fence to keep the island’s wild horse and dog population at bay. A new ramp and an entry path were also built to improve access to the service for families. These infrastructure works were co-funded by the Queensland Government, which contributed $400,000 to the project.

Improvements to the physical structure of the building and surroundings were made through the quality measure, and intensive training support was provided to educators at the service by the Australian Government funded Indigenous Professional Support Unit ( IPSU), under the auspices of the Queensland Council of Social Services. Two educators from the service completed a Diploma of Children’s Services, and one is studying for a diploma. Another educator has completed a Certificate III and one is studying towards this qualification.

The approach taken by the IPSU in its training courses, delivered at 16 Budget Based Funded services in Queensland, has been recognised as a successful pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into higher education.

Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance

The Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance ( JETCCFA) programme helps eligible income support parents with the cost of approved child care while they are working, studying or training. The programme assists parents to enter or return to the workforce, by removing the cost of child care as a barrier. JETCCFA, which is an element of the Government’s workforce participation and productivity agenda, helps to improve employment outcomes for parents.

From July 2013 the Government is investing an additional $27.2 million over five years in the JETCCFA programme to ensure that parents undertaking Year 12 and university enabling courses, commonly known as foundation and bridging courses, will be eligible for JETCCFA.

Performance information

Table 1: Programme 1.1 Support for the Child Care System performance information

Child Care Services Support

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of child care services receiving sustainability assistance 2,500 2,601
Number of child care services receiving establishment assistance 250 389
Number of Budget Based Funded Services 343 311a

Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistanceb

Deliverables 2013—14
estimate
2013—14
actual
Number of children in child care 53,900 34,900
Number of parents assisted 34,700 22,900

Trend in the number of children with additional needs using government approved child care services—by target group

Key performance indicators 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Children with disability 3% 3%
Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Australian South Sea Islander children 3% 3%
Children from non-English speaking backgrounds 17% 17%

a Following the Machinery of Government change on 18 September 2013, the remaining 32 BBFs (23 Indigenous Playgroups and 9 Stronger Futures Northern Territory crèches) transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

b JETCCFA estimates are as published in the 2013–14 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements. Actual JETCCFA data for the 2013–14 financial year was not available at the time of publication. These figures are estimates based on the September quarter and unpublished December quarter data for 2013–14. The data is sourced from Department of Education administrative collections.

Feature Story

Remote Indigenous Professional Development

The Remote Indigenous Professional Development ( RIPD) for the Early Years Learning Framework Project provides professional development for Indigenous early childhood educators in remote settings.

The RIPD began in 2010 with the development of a practical resource package, and implementation began in 2012 in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Educators are provided with five days of professional development, supported by a practical resource, to assist them to interpret and use the Early Years Learning Framework to develop quality education programmes for young Indigenous children. The training, delivered by qualified Indigenous early childhood teachers, includes modelling quality practice, coaching and mentoring.

RIPD has opened up innovative ways to deliver professional development that can be customised to the local context in remote settings. A special feature of the project is the delivery of training by Indigenous early childhood teachers, which has resulted in strong growth in Indigenous leadership.

To date, more than 200 pedagogical leaders have been trained to deliver the RIPD package and over 700 early childhood educators across the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia have received training. Ongoing positive feedback from participants is a strong testament to the success of this project, with the majority of educators agreeing that RIPD has helped increase confidence and understanding in using the Early Years Learning Framework.

This work continues to build the capacity of Indigenous early childhood educators and strengthen pedagogical leadership in early childhood education.