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Australian Community Children’s Services – advocating nationally for the right of Australia’s children to access quality, not-for-profit, community children’s services.

ACCS 40th Anniversary

ACCS held a nationwide celebration on 18 May 2022 to mark the 40th anniversary of our advocacy for community children’s services. Past and present members and supporters gathered in person in Sydney and Adelaide and connected to online gatherings with people in Perth and Melbourne.

A slide presentation reminded us of the first national conference in 1983, the many federal election campaigns, national conferences and research publications.

A panel of speakers filled in the detail with their recollections from each decade. Professor Deborah Brennan spoke about the formation in 1982 by a group of young women, many still students (and Deb was the inaugural National Convenor of the fledgling national advocacy body). Celia Haddock spoke about the challenges and successes in the 1990s including negotiating relationships with other national peak bodies at the National Children’s Services Forum. Barbara Romeril spoke about rising to the challenge of corporate child care giant, ABC Learning in 2000s and Dr Anne Kennedy spoke about the ground breaking Trends in Community Children’s Services Survey research conducted throughout the 2010s.

The National Convenor Prue Warrilow completed the program with her recollections of facing unfriendly Senate Committees and the many other courageous acts of advocacy. She acknowledged the many people who have contributed to the success of ACCS over the last 40 years.

Prue welcomed the incoming federal ALP Government. Sadly she also announced the winding up of the national operations of ACCS and thanked the SA Branch for taking up the role of supporting communication and collaboration between state branches of ACCS to advocate into the future.

ACCS is the peak body representing Australia’s not-for-profit community owned children’s services and those who support the right of children to access these services. ACCS builds on the strong history of the National Association of Community Based Children’s Services (NACBCS) Est 1982.

Inaugural National Convenor of NACBCS/ACCS Receives Queens Birthday Honour

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Professor Deborah Brennan was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to social policy research, to gender equality and to tertiary education.
Professor Brennan is one of Australia’s leading researchers in comparative welfare, family policy and gender and politics. She is the author of The Politics of Australian Child Care and has advised the Australian and UK governments on the development of policies for families and children.

Dr Brennan has been professor emerita at UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre since 2019, where she worked in the department for 15 years. She was the Inaugural Convenor of the National Association of Community Based Children’s Services (NABCBS) and is a former President of the Australian Political Science Association.

Other recipients in 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honour List for service to early and middle childhood services are Ms Robyn Monro Miller, current President of the International Play Association and a long time advocate for outside school hours care (OSHC), Professor Leslie Loble, Co-Chair of the Council on Early Childhood Development and Judith Atkinson, the current vice president and past president of the Australian Childcare Alliance.

Mrs Elaine Duyvestyn, Ms Leanne Mits and Dr Sally Murphy also received a Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) for their contribution to early childhood education in their communities.

Source: The Sector newsletter, Thursday June 16 2022

ACCS Launches TICCS In Context report

By Home, TICCSS Report

Australian Community Children’s Services is proud to launch our report TICCSS In Context revealing on how the experiences of the community sector influenced public debate during a significant period of positive change for children and families across Australia.

The Trends In Community Children’s Services Survey (TICCSS) is our ground-breaking longitudinal study of how children’s services stepped up to the challenge of each step in the improvement of minimum quality standards in child care and pre-school/kindergarten from 2012 to 2020.

TICCSS In Context sets the findings of this research in the context of the lively debate leading up to and during this seminal reform.

It examines how this research contributed to crucial policy discussions especially in defence of the reforms in the context of doubts about affordability, the administrative burden and the availability of an appropriately skilled workforce. Our research was influential in demonstrating that the new quality standards were achievable without causing services to become unaffordable for families and that it is possible to build the workforce by starting with upskilling existing educators.

It includes forewords from the Members of Parliament who drove the quality reform process and from Professor Deborah Brennan, author of The Politics of Australian Child Care: from philanthropy to feminism and beyond.

The reports on the six waves of the survey research and this contextual report will stand as a testament to the resilience of the community ECEC sector, showing leadership in times of positive change and speaking out about the impacts of calamitous events like fires and pandemics as well as the everyday vulnerabilities experienced by children and families.

ACCS Releases its Policy Platform for the next Federal Election

By Home, Position Papers

ACCS is once again bringing the voice of the community children’s services sector to policy makers in the major political parties to inform the policies they take to the next federal election, due late this year or early next year. It proposes the four headline issues that need to be addressed in this election:

  • Building a skilled and professional early and middle childhood workforce – pay equity for educators; subsidised fees for upskilling to diploma and degree early childhood qualifications; stronger controls for early childhood courses and quality assurance of providers
  • Confirm on-going commitment to the National Quality Framework to continue building quality standards beyond 2020
  • All children, including those of non-working parents, are eligible for subsidised high quality early childhood education and care for at least 2 days per week
  • Children and families experiencing vulnerability, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, are eligible for at least two days of fully subsidised access per week without going through the Additional Child Care Subsidy processes