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Family Day Care Report on Government Services

Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) Matters

FDCA

Report on Government Services: Family day care still biggest non-standard hours provider

Last week, the Productivity Commission released its Report on Government Services 2016. The annual report presents data regarding a wide range of government services, including child care, education and training.

The report clearly demonstrates that family day care is the major national provider of approved evening, weekend and overnight care. Data from the report indicates that:

  • 7 per cent of family day care services provide care after 6:30pm on any day between Monday to Friday, compared to 1.3 per cent of long day care centres;
  • 30.5 per cent of family day care services provide care on the weekend, compared to 0.7 per cent of long day care centres; and
  • 4.4 per cent of family day care services provide care overnight, with no data given for long day care centres.

Despite the rising costs of child care, family day care remains one of the more affordable forms of care:

  • In 2015, families paid on average $400 per child for 50 hours of long day care, as compared to $341 per child for family day care.
  • The national median weekly cost for 50 hours of care increased by 4.9 per cent in real terms for long day care from 2014 to 2015 (up from $381), but decreased by 0.7 per cent for family day care over the same period (down from $344).

At a national level, out-of-pocket costs for families using both family day care and long day care are down when compared to the previous year:

  • For family day care, the 2015 out-of-pocket costs after subsidies for families with one child in 50 hours of care were between 7.1 and 9.6 per cent of weekly disposable income, compared to 9.3 per cent and 11.0 per cent in 2014.
  • For long day care, the 2015 out-of-pocket costs after subsidies were between 7.6 and 11.1 per cent of weekly disposable income, compared to 9.5 per cent and 11.1 per cent in 2014.

Click here to see the full report.

Click on Family Day Care Matters to see more from Family Day Care Australia

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Asbestos in Crayons Warning

CONSUMER / RETAILER ALERT – ASBESTOS IDENTIFIED IN CRAYONS SOLD WITHIN AUSTRALIA

Trace amounts of asbestos have been detected in some brands of children’s crayons that have been imported into Australia. The crayon products in which asbestos has been identified are as follows:

  • Dora the Explorer Personalized 32 pack crayons (Figure 1)
  • Dora the Explorer Jumbo crayons (Figure 2)
  • Arti Crafti 16 piece crayons (Figure 3)
  • Peppa Pig 8 wax crayons (Figure 4)
  • Disney ‘Frozen’ Jumbo Crayons (Figure 5)
  • Disney ‘Mickey Mouse and Friends’ Crayons (Figure 6)

For more information and the full warning notice from asbestossafety.gov.au click here

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2015 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards

Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) is pleased to announce nominations for the 2015 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards are now open.

2015 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards

Families, educators and service staff are encouraged to nominate in the Educator of the Year and Service of the Year categories.

Click here to nominate your service.

The Excellence in Family Day Care Awards not only recognise the individual achievements of educators and services, they also promote the very many unique benefits of family day care to families across Australia.

Click here to nominate your educator.

As well as the honour of being named the best in the business, award winners will share in tens of thousands of dollars in prizes. – See more at:

Family Day Care Australia 2015 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards

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Family Day Care at Home

Becoming an Educator is not a job, it’s a life, a business, a vocation.

If early childhood is your passion and you want to create a successful business, you could become an Educator with us.

If you are already an Educator who is driven by quality outcomes for children, and wonder what it would be like to be fully supported and truly be part of the team, then get in touch today.

You could be a part of the fastest growing quality Family Day Care service around!

 

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Another kick in the backside for Family Day Care

Family Day Care Queensland Response to the latest Child Care FDCAQchanges.

Advocacy in Action

10th May 2015

Federal Government Families Package

Another kick in the backside for FDC- does this government really want to offer flexible education and care?

Dear Members

Please find attached to this email blast a copy of the Federal Government media release in regards to the child care package.

There are some key issues for us to be aware of:

  1. This will not take place until after the next election for the 2017/2018 financial year.
  2. All current funding CCB, CCR, CSP (those eligible) will be frozen until 2017/2018.
  3. CSP funding will cease in total from the end of June 2016.
  4. The capped amount (benchmark fee)for FDC will be $10.70 as opposed to LDC $11.55, OSHC $10.10 and $7 for nannies.
  5. To calculate the median price for the 2017/2018 financial year FDC will only be increased by 5.75% as opposed 17.5% for LDC and OSHC.
  6. The government statement that FDC has lower overheads.
  7. We will lose our part—time loading of 133.33%.

The issues above highlight the importance of our clear communication to government and media moving forward.

It appears that FDC is certainly likely to come out the loser in this child care package. Losing the part time loading will mean that it will be more expensive for families who use a lot of non-standard hours of care as the rate stays the same regardless of when you use it.

The low benchmark for nannies will not make this an affordable choice for the average family unless you have 3 children to be cared for.

I agree simplifying the payment of subsidy is a great way forward, however government have not understood FDC once again and are certainly not delivering on meeting the flexible needs of families.

Of the other packages that are meant to support rural-remote and disadvantage communities and families- the devil will be in the detail and will certainly have me waiting with baited breath to see what will really happen for families.

The whole of the ECEC sector once again is not valued. The government has chosen not to validate the poor wages and the need to support ECEC workers with professional development. Not to mention the importance of quality education and care for children- not just about work force participation.

Let’s band together and make sure we are ready to send our message.

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Budget 2015 – Child Care Impacts

Budget 2015: Childcare system receives shake-up under new Government plan to support low income families

The changes explained:

  • A new single means-tested Child Care Subsidy set to begin on July 1, 2017 to replace the Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance programs
  • Families earning up to $65,000 will receive 85 per cent of the childcare cost per child, or a designated benchmark price, whichever is lower. That will reduce to 50 per cent for families with incomes of $170,000 and above
  • Hourly benchmark prices will be $11.55 (long day care), $10.70 (family day care), $10.10 (out-of-school hours care) and $7.00 (in-home care nanny pilot program due to begin in January 2016)
  • There will be no cap on subsidies for families with an income below $185,000, while those who earn beyond that will receive an increased cap of $10,000 per child, up from $7,500
  • Subsidy is subject to new activity test for up to 100 hours of subsidised care per child, per fortnight, paid directly to providers
  • Up to 24 hours help will also be offered to families with incomes less than $65,000 who do not meet activity test requirements
  • The ‘no jab, no play’ policy remains with all childcare subsidies linked to immunisation requirements
  • Policy to cost $3.5 billion over four years, funded by cuts to Families Tax Benefit payments stuck in the Senate

activity test

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Morrison’s nanny program risks undercutting quality care

First Early Childhood is moved to Department of Social Services, now it’s babysitting.

“I mean in many cases with shift workers we’re talking about a nanny who’s there overnight…. they won’t be doing too much learning in the middle of the night.” – Scott Morrison

So its only for when the children are asleep?

 

Social Services minister Scott Morrison has unveiled the first part of the Abbott government’s “families package” ahead of next month’s federal budget and the signs are not good.

With the announcement of a $246 million two year pilot nanny subsidy program for low to middle income families, Morrison is signalling clearly he is willing to breach an implicit but long-term rule of public subsidies for child care – that is, that this service is regulated to ensure quality care.

Since funding started in 1972, subsidies have supported the costs of appropriately qualified staff. Morrison’s announced scheme will break this rule by subsidising sole carers over 18 with a first aid certificate. These carers will work alone with children in their own home, with no requirements for training or supervision.

This program includes children with special needs, in isolated areas, and babies, not just someone who picks up school age children and feeds them afternoon tea till mother comes home. They may take on two or three children, given the estimate is for more than twice as many children as carers.

The scheme is promoted to appear socially desirable, as it claims to fund care services for those who work antisocial hours to meet our needs. Their shifts often fall outside the usual hours of child care services which usually only operate between 6.30am to 6.30pm, and have often rotating rosters, making care services difficult to sustain.Social Services minister Scott Morrison’s nanny package undercuts the general principle of qualifications for child care. AAP/Lukas Coch

However, rather than the government working with existing services, such as family day care or even centre based services, to set up outreach or greater flexibility of use, the government has set up a new service without any quality guarantees or controls. The government focuses on “parental choices” to justify their lack any quality controls.

This is apparent in a couple of odd statements from Morrison.

“Nannies are not meant to replace mainstream childcare services but we want families to be able to choose the care type that suits them best, including using nannies in addition to other childcare,” Mr Morrison told The Daily Telegraph. This suggests that if families want their kids to have developmental activities and skilled care, they should be prepared to paying for two different types of services.

Later in an ABC AM interview, Morrison explained why the nanny carers needed no qualifications.

Well, because we’re talking about a different type of service. I mean in many cases with shift workers we’re talking about a nanny who’s there overnight…. they won’t be doing too much learning in the middle of the night. And so it’s a different type of service. It’s not a mainstream service. And if parents want to engage someone with an early childhood qualification, well of course they can. But we’re going to leave that choice up to the parents.

All this ignores the other times these workers are likely to cover.

Parents who want qualified carers will just have to pay more themselves as there will be the same subsidy for qualified and unqualified carers.

This raises the question of the level of subsidy available vis a vis what carers will need to be paid. It will be means tested, but even the top rate is likely to fall well short of the costs of care workers. The usual rates, according to various online providers, would be between $22 and $30 per hour. So an eight hour shift, either all day or overnight, would cost say $200 and that doesn’t allow travel time.

The proposed Productivity Commission’s possible hourly subsidy was less than $8 per hour, which is an indicator of median costs of group care. Were even $10 per hour to be offered, it still leaves a gap of maybe $15 per hour – which is not really affordable for lower paid workers like nurses or aged carers, and particularly for single parents.

The total figures proposed don’t add up either. Morrison quotes targets of 10,000 children and 4000 nannies, which suggests most families would have two children in care. However, if these are annual totals, the allocated $125 million per annum would offer an average of $12,500 average subsidy per child in care,($250 per week,) or an allocation of $31,250 per carer.

As an all up cost this is very marginal as it would have to cover on costs including recruitment, administration, insurance – let alone super and sick pay. Over the two years, it doesn’t seem nearly enough!

Were this an exercise for students on good policy drafting, I’d give the Minister a fail. He is undermining the rights of children to quality care, risking the work exploitation of the women who are potential carers and, most seriously, taking the lazy way out of fixing the inadequacies of the over-marketised care suppliers.

Children’s services should be planned and directly funded to offer much more flexible services with well supervised and qualified staff! The children deserve better.

The ConversationThis article was originally published on The Conversation.

Read the original article.

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Family Day Care News

A positive reflection of Family Day Care. Well done Channel 9.

Like those in this article Kids at Home are proud to provide a high quality Family Day Care service for families – which is represented by our “Exceeding National Quality Standards” rating.

 

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Quality Counts with Child Care

Abbott points to Canadian model of early learning but doesn’t see the whole picture

Charles E. Pascal

 

As a Canadian researcher, it was good to read Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent reference to my country as justification for investing more in childcare. Unfortunately, he seems to be focusing on only half of what’s needed.

He said if Australia could shift its low rate of female workforce participation to Canada’s rate – one of the highest in the world – the Australian economy would be A$25 billion a year better off.

It’s true. In 1997, Quebec, for example, decided to tackle its low rate of maternal workforce participation by subsidising low-cost childcare. As a result, 70,000 mothers were able to return to work. And the policy that cost $2 billion a year actually ended up saving the government money because of the taxes generated by this workforce increase.

While it is important to note that raising workforce participation is key to a nation’s productivity, this is only half of the economic benefit that a country can achieve from investing in high-quality early learning and care.

In order to build the human capital required for a creative and flexible “all hands on deck” economy, governments must also pay attention to the human development side of things. The neurological science and economic research is clear about the remarkable return from the right investments in the first 2000 days of a child’s life.

Our countries have much to learn from each other. We share, for example, the use of the Educational Development Index, a Canadian invention that measures how many children start school developmentally vulnerable. Frankly, its effective and widespread use in Australia (AEDI) trumps our own application. The Index tells us, that in both countries, more than 20% of children start school with challenging vulnerabilities, well behind their peers. Many of them never catch up.

But measuring is one thing. Doing something with results is another.

In Australia, there are many examples of AEDI results driving local community action. Canada’s largest province of Ontario, when faced with a vulnerability rate of 27% in 2009, introduced two years of free universal high-quality full-day preschool for all children. After four years of implementation, the results are startling. The vulnerability rate is rapidly moving downward as social, emotional and language development indicators are rising dramatically.

And what about the economic return? Research sponsored by the Business Council of British Columbia notes that for every 1% drop in the vulnerability rate, a 1% increase to the GDP will accrue as a result over the working life of each 1% of the cohort no longer vulnerable. This is a massive multi-billion-dollar gain but only if the quality of non-parental early learning and care is improved.

The quality counts

The key to these results is the quality of the education and care, including an evidence-based curriculum delivered in a consistent manner across all learning centres by well-qualified early learning professionals. Improving the relationships between parents and early learning professionals is also key, as is the dire need to improve the quality and availability of our early learning and childcare for children aged 0 to 3.

While it is promising to see the new Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison, recognising the critical importance of Australia’s National Quality Framework as a major quality lever, affordability seems to hold priority prominence. A healthier and more prosperous Australian future requires equal attention to affordability and quality, not a war between the two.

Abbott is correct in encouraging policy that enables an increase in the participation of women in the workforce. But he must keep in mind that who the children are with and what they are doing while mums are working, is the other half of a winning equation. And this means investing in high-quality early learning and care centres, not subsidising the use of nannies for the well-off.

In these challenging times, with budget choices increasingly difficult, we hear about the value of attending to a nation’s infrastructure — roads, public buildings, the digital highway. In this context, there is no more important “infrastructure” than quality early child development, the very best social and economic choice with Australia’s best future in mind.

Charles E. Pascal

 

Read the original article here

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ECA Paid Parental Leave Press Release

Early Childhood Australia calls for equal focus on workforce participation and all children’s outcomes

National children’s peak body Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the proposed Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme will be dropped to support further investment in early childhood education and care, welcoming the recognition that early childhood education and care (ECEC) is central to economic policy and is the key issue for families with young children.

ECA CEO, Samantha Page, said that ECA welcomed the Government’s foreshadowed ‘families package’ which may redirect savings from the proposed paid parental leave scheme into child care.

‘Paid parental leave is important to support parents to spend time with infants, particularly for bonding and attachment. In principle we support a full wage replacement scheme that is more generous than the current minimum wage model’, Ms Page said.

‘However, in an era of fiscal restraint where we have to make difficult choices, the priority should be on affordable, high-quality early childhood education and care which will amplify children’s development over the long term while also supporting workforce participation, rather than a more generous Paid Parental Leave scheme.’

Ms Page said that in developing the package, workforce participation benefits should not be the only focus.

‘Data from economists, social scientists and medical experts conclusively shows that the best and most efficient way to improve productivity is to invest in early childhood development—from birth to age five—particularly in disadvantaged children.’

‘For Australia to enhance its future prosperity over the long term, greater access to quality early childhood education and care for all children needs to be a priority.’

‘Australia needs to invest in children’s development for the benefit of our future’, Ms Page said.

‘The economic benefits from children receiving a high-quality education and care program benefit our whole skill based economy and must be the focus of further investment.’

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ landmark 2014 Report, Putting a value on early childhood education and care in Australia, has now found significant potential economic benefits from increased investment in early childhood education and care with the largest gains in the area of increased participation by vulnerable children

  • Benefits to GDP from a 5 per cent decrease in the net price of ECEC (for increased female workforce participation)—$6.0 billion cumulative to 2050
  • Benefits to GDP for children receiving a quality education and care program—$10.3 billion cumulative to 2050
  • Benefits to GDP of increased participation of vulnerable children whose parents are in the lowest income bracket—$13.3 billion cumulative to 2050.

‘Participation in quality early learning amplifies children’s early development, whilst also supporting parent’s workforce participation; making a significant contribution to the nation’s economy,’ Ms Page said.

The Government has made significant investment in early childhood education and care through the Budget. As indicated in The Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), investment in the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate is forecast to be $31 billion over the forward estimates. However, Australia’s investment in early childhood education falls below comparable Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

‘We look forward to working on the package of reforms with the Government, because we need a system that is easy to navigate and is affordable for all families ’, Ms Page said.

For more information contact:
Bonnie Montgomery, 0467 055 932

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