Access to quality care for families in need
The Government will ensure that children can access quality early childhood learning through targeted support to genuinely disadvantaged and vulnerable children.
The Child Care Subsidy will support low income families with at least one parent not currently undertaking recognised activity, to access 24 hours of subsidised care per fortnight. This will be available to those earning around $65,000 or less in 2017‑18.
In addition to the Child Care Subsidy, the Government will spend $869 million on the Child Care Safety Net to assist vulnerable, disadvantaged and additional needs children.
Extra assistance for vulnerable children
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds particularly benefit from quality early learning.
To improve the developmental outcomes for these children, the Government will spend $156 million from 1 July 2017 on top‑up fee assistance through the Additional Child Care Subsidy for:
- children who are at risk of serious abuse or neglect;
- families experiencing temporary financial hardship; and
- families transitioning to work from income support.
Child Care Safety Net
Additional Child Care Subsidy ($156 million)
Extra assistance for ‘at risk’ children
Community Child Care Fund ($304 million)
Increasing access to child care in disadvantaged communities
Inclusion Support Programme ($409 million)
Including children with additional needs
Early childhood education and care play an important role in helping children with additional needs
Accessible child care in disadvantaged communities
The Government will establish a $304 million Community Child Care Fund (CCCF), to support child care providers servicing their local community. The CCCF will be used to:
- remove barriers for disadvantaged children, or children in regional or remote areas;
- make child care services more viable;
- improve affordability for low income families in high cost areas; and
- increase the supply of centre based and mobile services.
From 1 July 2016, $10 million will be provided each year to integrate child care services with maternal and child health and family support programmes in disadvantaged Indigenous communities, as part of implementing the early childhood recommendations of the Forrest Review.
The CCCF will commence on 1 July 2017.
Supporting children with additional needs
Children with additional needs often face barriers to access and participate in mainstream child care services.
The Government will commit $409 million over the forward estimates to the new Inclusion Support Programme, which will commence on 1 July 2016.
The new Inclusion Support Programme will assist parents who have children with additional needs to access child care. The Inclusion Support Programme will provide more funding for services to get the necessary skilled staff and equipment to support these children.
The programme will target support to children with disabilities or from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds.