In an increasing number of families both parents are working professionals. In such a family, raising children can be a challenge. Such families are confronted with two options. The parents can stay at home and take care of the child themselves, however, this is at the cost of forgoing their jobs. The other option is sending their child to a childcare centre. The former option is not an easy one as most families need two breadwinners. Consequently, the importance of early-year education and childcare centres is undeniable.
Providing quality early-years education is important to raise well-rounded individuals. Children are the future of any country, and given their age, require special assistance and care. Quality early-years education evens out the playing field for children, despite their divergent economic backgrounds. When children have access to high-quality childcare, it affords them the opportunity to develop the crucial skills needed to succeed in school and their lives. Interacting with people from a young age imbues in children vital emotional, social and communication skills. Childcare centres set the foundation for formal education, introducing children to basic language and mathematical skills. They also develop in children a sense of community and the different roles played by people in their community.
In recognition of the important role played by childcare centres, the Australian government has set aside grants for childcare centres. These grants are aimed at supporting the welfare of children, with a large focus on children of a minority or disadvantaged community. Grants that solely focus on at-risk communities have been categorized as special circumstances funding. If you are a childcare centre that is seeking government funding to meet your business’ needs, then Grants Assist can help you. Grants Assist is a company that specializes in providing assistance to individuals and businesses in securing government funding. The article provides information about how the Australian government is taking measures to support childcare centres, especially during the uncertainty created by the pandemic.
Community Child Care Fund (CCCF)
Earlier this year in January, the Minister for Decentralization and Regional Education, the Hon Andrew Gee, announced the availability of $117 million in funding for eligible childcare services. The support fund, called the Community Child Care Fund, is aimed at increasing the capacity of childcare centres and support services in areas where it is needed the most. The package is part of the Australian government’s continued commitment to providing families access to affordable healthcare, especially those families that are situated in remote and disadvantaged communities.
In order to secure funding under this program, childcare centres would have to apply for these grants that are available on a competitive basis. The funding is going to be available for three years, until 30 June 2024. The third round of funding’s final date for submitting applications was 1 March 2021 and successful applicants were announced on 16 July 2021.
In the previous rounds of funding, grants have been awarded under three categories. The categories are as follows:
- Ensuring the viability of services by providing sustainability support
- Identifying and removing community-level barriers to increase childcare attendance
- Contributions towards the cost of upgrading, renovating or constructing childcare facilities through capital support.
The agents at Grants Assist will be able to provide you with guidance on selecting the right category for your application. This will increase the chances of filing a successful application, as their agents have a wealth of experience in helping their clients secure government funding.
CCCF Special Circumstances Grant
This grant is for those child support services that are facing an unexpected obstacle that is putting them at the risk of closing down. To secure funding under this grant, applicants must be:
- An approved Child Care Subsidy (CCS) provider
- Operating for vulnerable and disadvantaged community members
- At high risk of closing down because of some unforeseen circumstance
- At the risk of closing down, that would negatively impact the availability of childcare services in their community
- Seeking to open a new childcare centre and funding is needed for viability. The new centre must be opening in a community where another service was closed down and where there is a lack of suitable childcare services.
Applications would be assessed by factoring in:
- The level of a disadvantage being suffered by the community
- The needs of children in that community, and
- The value for money
Additional Support During the Pandemic
The Australian government understands and appreciates the role played by childcare centres. Therefore, the government is committed to providing support for childcare centres even during the pandemic. The support available to childcare centres in remaining operational has largely been made available through the provision of grants. Recently, the Education Minister, Alan Tudge announced $40 to $50 million in support per week for centres providing childcare.
This newly introduced support package will grant eligible childcare centres up to 25 per cent of their pre-lockdown revenue. However, to take advantage of this funding, the childcare centre must have been directed by the government to close its doors during the pandemic. Childcare centres that have were locked down for four weeks and more are also eligible for the support package. For such centres, it is not necessary for the government to have issued an order limiting the attendance of children. Additionally, childcare centres must have retained their staff during this period and provided fee waivers for families that are unable to afford their child’s fees.
It is expected that this support package will provide relief to approximately 3,600 childcare services in Sydney and another 1,200 services in Canberra and Melbourne.
In addition to providing support for childcare services, the government has also apportioned funds for supporting education in Australia. These funds have been made available for those organizations that are currently providing vocational training and education to children in the early years. Such organizations can apply for these grants to upgrade their facilities and to expand their infrastructure.
In some states, support is also being extended to parents of physically challenged children. To get more information on how you can benefit from grants available for childcare services, it is advised that you get in touch with Grants Assist whose agents and advisors will be better able to guide you in securing government funding.