As we approach the next federal election in an environment of calls for free or cheap child care, ACCS has reviewed and restated its policy on accessible and affordable child care. We spell out how the government subsidy system can be improved to meet the needs of families facing vulnerabilities.
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
Read how the early childhood policies of the major parties match up with the policies that ACCS is promoting to the next Australian Government to deliver benefits to children, their families and the communities in which they live, as well as wider national benefits from social capital gains such as enhanced life course trajectories and health outcomes; and from economic gains in the short, medium and longer-term.
Also click here to read the scorecard produced in collaboration between ACCS, the Early Learning And Care Council of Australia and the Australian Childcare Alliance.
ACCS is putting all political parties on notice to show Australian families that they will protect and enhance quality in early childhood education and care if they win the next election.
The ACCS policy platform that calls for three crucial commitments from the next federal government:
• to commit to the National Partnership for the National Quality Framework in Early Childhood
• to build the skills of the educators in early and middle childhood services
• to ensure access and affordability of two full day per week of quality early childhood education and care for the children and families who have most to gain – those who are experiencing vulnerability
ACCS is also advocating for investment in the learning and development of children in the first three years of life, extending funding to three year old preschool programs in all settings, keeping children and families out of detention, protecting access for families experiencing vulnerability, continuation of the National Quality Framework and reintroduction of planning controls to prevent oversupply.
Reports from the national quality agency ACECQA continue to show that not-for-profit services have higher quality ratings than for-profit operators.
This comparison is possible due to lobbying from ACCS for ACECQA to report quality ratings by service type.
As the peak body advocating nationally for the right of Australia’s children to access quality, not for profit, community children’s services, ACCS calls on the major parties contesting the federal election to respond to our headline issues:
- Increase the fee subsidy to 90 per cent of the full costs of early childhood education and care (ECEC) for low income families and 100 per cent of the full costs for children who are experiencing vulnerability or who are at risk
- All children, including those of non-working parents, are eligible for subsidised ECEC for at least 2 days per week – from a minimum of 18 hours up to 24 hours per week reflecting the operating hours of the service
- Build a skilled and professional early childhood workforce – no HECS, free TAFE
- No children and their families in detention in Australia or off-shore
ACCS believes that families and children have the right to choose not for profit community owned children’s services. No community should be limited to commercial, for-profit services.
ACCS believes that the Australian Government has an important role in developing planning legislation for all service types (long day care, occasional care, family day care, outside school hours care, in-home care) that ensures that families have access to not-for-profit community owned children’s services, allowing families’ choice in child care. Australia needs a system that allows and encourages the development of community owned services, while preventing new commercial for-private-profit services from opening where they will undermine the viability of existing services…