Supporting parents with more funding for out-of-school care
Nats continue delivering for families!
Last week Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell MLC announced in conjunction with Premier Gladys Berejiklian an extension of the NSW Government’s Before and After School Care Fund.
The fund will now be able to be accessed by not-for-profit, out of hours’ care providers such as local councils and schools who often struggle to provide the after-hour care required by busy parents. Thanks to the fund’s extension, care providers can access up to $30,000 to expand their care capacities, or establish such a service.
“We know families need flexibility, so we’re providing a flexible approach that supports not-for-profits, local councils and schools to provide more care options,” Sarah said.
With many families now having two working parents, out of hours care is crucial in juggling the demanding work/life balance. Already 160 schools and five councils have accessed the fund, a sign that demand for places is ever increasing. The funding has substantial capacity to increase the daily places available, with the school visited by Sarah during the announcement already using their $30,000 to create 40 more care places – a significant increase in their capacity.
The move has been welcomed by MPs across the NSW, who are urging their local communities to take advantage of the fund’s extension.
In the Tweed electorate, an area with over 20,000 families, local Nats member Geoff Provest highlighted the benefits of the fund’s extension for his region.
“Opening the fund to not-for-profit service providers means extra support to help community spaces offer out of school hours care and ease the burden in areas of high demand,” he said.
“Every school community in Tweed has different needs and these changes will have real benefits in areas where schools don’t have the capacity to establish or further expand services on site.”
The funding can be used on everything from structural modifications to equipment. The changes also allow local community groups to liaise and prepare joint proposals, allowing unique care solutions to be created. Communities with particular needs are also encouraged to apply, with funding being assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The Nationals in Government continue to deliver in the early education space, with over $1.6 billion in funding directed into the sector since 2011 and $382 million this year alone. This funding announcement continues this commitment, responding to the needs of families and giving parents real choices for out of hours care.
If you would like more information or think your community of school may be able to benefit from the increase in funding, please visit http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/our-services/children-and-youth/out-of-hours-school-care-grant