Occasional Care Struggles for Funds
Tuesday, 21st June 2011 at 12:44 pm
The Gillard Government has called on the Victorian Government to reconsider its decision not to continue funding a community based, occasional child care program called Take a Break, beyond the end of this year.
The Federal Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care, Kate Ellis called on the Victorian Government to follow the lead of others states and commit to ongoing funding for neighbourhood model occasional care.
Both the Federal and State Governments have been hand-balling responsibility for ongoing funding of the program since last year.
Originally a State and Federally funded program the Federal government withdrew its 70 per cent of funding last year and the Liberal Victorian government has only provided funded until the end of the year.
The Baillieu Government has scrapped the childcare program as part of its massive budget cuts across the education sector, according to the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Children and Young Adults in Victoria, Jenny Mikakos.
Appearing before a recent Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing, Victorian Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell confirmed the Take a Break Occasional Child Care program would be scrapped by the end of the year.
Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres executive officer, Angela Savage says the $1 million funding for the Take a Break Occasional Child Care program is a small cost and high impact program.
Federal Minister Ellis says the Australian Government has massively increased funding to early childhood education and care, providing over $20 billion over the next four years – well over double what the former federal provided.
She says as part of this investment, the Government is driving a national reform process that will see areas that were previously funded solely by State and Territory governments receiving significant additional investment from the Commonwealth.
She says the Gillard Government has ceased funding for neighbourhood model occasional care, which represented an investment of $1.1 million in Victoria in 2009-10.
She says although now forgoing this, the Victorian Government is receiving approximately $210.6 million for kindergartens over the next 5 years – an area where the Commonwealth previously had no funding responsibility.
As well she says it is also providing funding for an unlimited number of child care places in Victoria in long day care, family day care and outside school hours care to enable existing child care services to expand and new services to be created.
Ellis says the previous Victorian Government acknowledged this significant overall increase in funding from the Commonwealth and committed to a review and extension of their funding for the Take a Break program.
The Take a Break Occasional Child Care program is provided at more than 220 neighbourhood houses and community centres across Victoria.