Are you feeling a little confused about whether to keep your place with your childcare centre or cancel it? One message being sent loud and clear from the early childhood sector is ‘Keep your kids enrolled in care.’
With thousands of childcare workers slowly losing their jobs, the Australian Child Care Alliance (ACA) Queensland has launched the campaign If you want us later; Then we need you now, which aims to educate parents about the importance of keeping their children enrolled in their service so that they have a place when CONVID-19 passes.
On Thursday, April 2nd Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a free childcare program for working Australian parents to use during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Morrison stated that those parents who needed to physically be at a workplace should have somewhere safe that can take care of their children, and a $1.6 billion temporary overhaul to existing policies, including eliminating the means test will help keep childcare centres doors open and people in jobs.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $1.6 billion temporary package to allow working Australians free childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you have a job in this economy then that is an essential job, in my view, in terms of the running of the economy and it is important that all of those parents who have children, that they get access to child care and those facilities will be there for them in the many months ahead,” he said.
“What we will be doing is we will be ensuring for those parents who are still in that position where they are needing that childcare, it will be free.
“We will be putting in place support arrangements to childcare facilities, some 13,000 of them, to ensure they remain open and be there for their parents to ensure they can do what they need to do each day.”
Who will have access to free childcare?
While ultimately centres decide who will get the places, Mr Morrison said that childcare centres should “prioritise obviously those who need their children cared for because they are working”.
“And working where they can’t care for their children safely at home. For them to prioritise as well as vulnerable children who need that continuity of care as well,” he said.
“And then to re-engage with those parents who have taken their children out of care to see whether they can be accommodated as necessary as well, but there is a clear priority list that we want centres to take into account.
“The most important of those are those essential workers and vulnerable children.”
Childcare centres must stay open, and now, with the Government program, they will be able to keep assisting Aussie families to have access childcare.
Education Minister Dan Tehan announced that program will begin from Sunday night and payments will be backdated to March 23. Existing means-testing for childcare rebates will not apply for the duration of the pandemic.
“It will be a system which will mean parents will get their children cared for free,” he said. “You do not have to worry about trying to look for new care for your children.”
All childcare centres will have access to the funding to keep their doors open, with the only criteria for childcare centres to receive the payments were that the childcare centre must remain open and must provide care for those parents who need their children cared for.
“They must also seek to re-enrol those parents who might have dropped off,” said Mr Tehan.
In addition to the fee assistance, Mr Tehan said 60 per cent of the costs of a childcare centre were wages, and the JobKeeper subsidy will provide support the sector “to the tune of over $1 billion”.
- Childcare prepares kids for school.
- Childcare makes kids better communicators.
- Children in Childcare have manners constantly enforced and are better at sharing.
- Children in Childcare are often more resilient than those at home.
- Childcare may help kids try healthier food options they decline at home.
With COVID-19, Sadly some Childcare centres have had as many as 60% of families leave.
Here is some additional support for families using early childhood services:
- Families using child care now have 62 days of absences available to them (up from 42 days) and will continue to receive the Child Care Subsidy if their child is absent from care on these days.
- Families will be able to use these additional days this financial year and will not have to produce a medical certificate if they require more than 62 absence days due to COVID-19.
- Child care services which have been forced to close on public health advice related to COVID-19 do not have to charge families the gap fee.
- Families experiencing a loss of income through job loss or self-isolation may be eligible to receive the Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship), which is available for up to 13 weeks and, in most cases, covers the full cost of child care. Families can apply for this via the MyGov website.
Other things to consider
With numbers down, not only is the risk decreased, however, the care is multiplied.
If you have a particular childcare centre which you have been trying to get your children into, grab your Pilanky and enrol them. Cheeky but true!!
Don’t forget to read the article below to kick your child’s immune system into overdrive.