You may recall an update some months ago expressing the ACA's concern that the Federal Government's new Community Child Care Fund (CCCF), which is part of the new Child Care Safety Net, would not be made available to privately-operated Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services.
We are pleased to announce that the government has reconsidered their position and amended their application criteria (available here), to allow privately-operated services to apply for the various grants under the new CCCF program.
As with all grant funding, there is a list of criteria that applicants will need to comply with in order to be successful in the application process.
The CCCF is the new grants program which effectively replaces the existing Community Support Program (CSP) funding - a program which aimed to help child care providers meet the unique needs of their local community, such as in disadvantaged or regional and remote areas.
Contrary to our initial understanding of the availability of this funding while engaging with government before the Jobs for Families package was passed through the Senate, we later found out that privately-owned ECEC services would not have access to the CCCF, leaving many children out of the funded system, solely based on their geographic location.
As we reported at the time, ACA was extremely concerned by this policy decision. We raised this important issue with both the Minister of Education and the Department of Education and Training (DET) on behalf of our affected members, explaining the severe ramifications of this policy on those services which rely on this funding.
Our engagement included a Position Paper on the Community Child Care Fund available here, which included feedback from our members and some real life case studies of services working with small, disadvantaged communities around Australia. These services estimated that they would have to close their doors if access to this funding was cut off, with dire consequences for working parents with no other service options.
Our key recommendation was that:
In order for the Community Child Care Fund to be equitable for all families - not just those enrolled with non-for-profit centres – all service types need to be given funding access.
We are delighted that the government has listened and we acknowledge their positive response to our concerns.
This is wonderful news for those families expected to be adversely affected by this policy, and fantastic news for the ECEC sector.
ACA would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who provided feedback to DET via their consultation process on this matter, and also assisted the ACA with their direct feedback. Your observations have been extremely valuable in informing our engagement with DET on this important matter.
In particular, we'd like to express our gratitude to those members who kindly agreed to be featured in the case studies for our Position Paper.
This is a great example of how members of the ECEC sector can work together to influence government decisions that affect the well-being of Australia's youngest generation.
Against this background, ACA remains committed to ensuring that children across Australia have access to quality and affordable early childhood education and care, giving them the best possible start in life.
Thanks again for your support in achieving this positive outcome.