Working carers who have a child with disability may be able to help their childcare centre access special support funds and specialist knowledge.
As part of the Jobs for Families Child Care Package announced in the 2016-17 Federal Budget, the Australian Government has established the Inclusion Support Program as part of the Child Care Safety Net (see story in this issue of Work ‘n’ Care on the childcare subsidy for grandparent carers).
A key component of the Child Care Safety Net was the $543 million Inclusion Support Program (ISP).
The ISP assists early childhood and child care (ECCC) services to include children with additional needs by providing tailored inclusion advice and support from contracted inclusion agencies, as well as funding to support more challenging inclusion barriers.
Under the ISP, seven Inclusion Agencies (IAs) and one Inclusion Development Fund (IDF) Manager have been contracted by the department to deliver nationally consistent inclusion support services.
There is one IA for each jurisdiction, with New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory being serviced by a single IA. IAs assist eligible early childhood and child care services (ECCC services) in their respective jurisdictions to build their capacity and capability to provide and embed inclusive practice and address barriers to inclusion experienced by children with additional needs.
Inclusion development fund manager
The IDF Manager provides nationally consistent and equitable management of the IDF through assessing applications for funding and communicating outcomes to services.
Inclusion Support Program guidelines
The ISP Guidelines contain information for ECCC services and other stakeholders about the program’s objectives, types of support available under the ISP and how to access it.
The department has developed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents to provide clarification for services about the intentions of the ISP Guidelines around accessing various elements of the program. Note these FAQs may be amended at any time during the program period to provide clarity on the program.
Inclusion support portal
The new Inclusion Support (IS) Portal is a user-friendly, simplified web-based application to facilitate ECCC services' interaction with the ISP. It provides step-by-step guidance for services to complete an online Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP) and access funding available through all streams of the Inclusion Development Fund. The Overview of the Strategic Inclusion Plan provides information and guidance on how to complete a SIP.
Importantly, there are key requirements ECCC services must undertake before they are granted access to the new IS Portal, including obtaining an AUSkey. For further information about these requirements please read Service Communication – Inclusion Support Program – Access to the new IS Portal for services which is available on the IPSP Transition page for child care services.
The new IS portal can be accessed here: