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  • 31 Oct 2016 10:23 AM | Anonymous

    Early Childhood Education and Care business case consultation has been extended

     

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    SkillsIQ wants to hear about quality issues in the early childhood education and care sector. SkillsIQ has been commissioned by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) to complete the necessary research and consultation to develop a Business Case setting out the strategic and evidentiary case for change within the CHC Community Services Training Package in response to the recommendations made by Australian Skills and Quality Authority (ASQA) in their strategic review Training for early childhood education and care in Australia.

    We are looking to consult broadly with stakeholders to better understand issues in the sector relating to training quality, including employers, employees / educators and registered training organisations (RTOs). A discussion paper has been developed to allow you to provide feedback, along with two short surveys to collect additional feedback from employers and employees/educators.

    The consultation period has been extended to Friday 4 November 2016.

    Please visit www.skillsiq.com.au/CurrentProjectsandCaseStudies/EarlyChildhood EducationAndCareBusinessCaseConsultation.aspx for more information.


  • 17 Oct 2016 11:48 AM | Anonymous

     

    The ACCS NSW AGM will be held on Wednesday 2 November from 5.30pm – 6.00 pm. The event will be accessible either through attendance at KU Children’s Services, 129 York Street Sydney or via teleconference.  Can you please RSVP to kim.bertino@ku.com.au by Friday 29 October and indicate whether you will be requiring teleconference facilities.  At the AGM, the election of Office Bearers will be conducted with a range of positions available, this includes State Convenor/National Representative, Deputy State Convenor, Secretary, Treasurer, National Representative and four (4) ordinary members.  If you are interested in an Office Bearer position please email kim.bertino@ku.com.au or p.warrilow@familiesatwork.com We welcome your engagement with ACCS NSW.

     

    In addition to the AGM, ACCS NSW will be holding an ACCS Forum towards the end of November, the date will be circulated in the near future. This forum will include a focus on the new preschool funding in NSW, including an overview of the funding model and the outcomes for preschool services. 


  • 12 Oct 2016 9:57 AM | Anonymous

    Early Childhood Education and Care Business Case Consultation – Have your say!

     

    facebook-news.png

    Twitter

    LinkedIn

     

     

     

     

    SkillsIQ wants to hear about quality issues in the early childhood education and care sector. SkillsIQ has been commissioned by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) to complete the necessary research and consultation to develop a Business Case setting out the strategic and evidentiary case for change within the CHC Community Services Training Package in response to the recommendations made by Australian Skills and Quality Authority (ASQA) in their strategic review Training for early childhood education and care in Australia.

    We are looking to consult broadly with stakeholders to better understand issues in the sector relating to training quality, including employers, employees/educators and registered training organisations (RTOs). A discussion paper has been developed to allow you to provide feedback, along with two short surveys to collect additional feedback from employers and employees/educators.

    The consultation period will be over four weeks, from Tuesday 4 October to Friday 28 October 2016.

    Please visit www.skillsiq.com.au/CurrentProjectsandCaseStudies/EarlyChildhood EducationAndCareBusinessCaseConsultation.aspx for more information.


  • 12 Oct 2016 9:55 AM | Anonymous
    • Deputy Commissioner Quiggin provided a video statement to the UN Human Rights Council. AHRC: View
    • Preliminary report released on competition and informed user choice in the human services. PC: More
    • Policy brief on the effects of parenting programs: Campbell Collaboration: More
    • The importance of mood and the role of the brain in shaping it. The Conversation: More
    • Webinar 25 Oct, Children's behaviour: sharing what we learn with families. KidsMatter : More
    • Free webinar 24 Oct: Elder abuse: Recent research and effective responses. AIFS: More
    • Creating Capacity: Support for Adult Siblings project, funded by NDIS: Siblings Australia: More
    • That's what happened to me. It's got to stop. Simon Gardiner's post on institutional child abuse. F&C: More

    RESOURCES

    • The economic costs of child abuse and neglect. CFCA Resource Sheet. AIFS: More
    • New interactive website for children to learn about rights and responsibilities. AHRC: More
    • Inclusive Organisations, a strategy guide to engage youth from migrant/refugee backgrounds. CMY: More
    • Guidelines for practitioners and clinicians in the sexual assault and alcohol, other drug sectors. ANROWS: More

    GRANTS & TENDERS

    • Tenders for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander welfare services close 21 October. QLD Govt: More
    • VIC only grants for organisations that promote literacy. Closes 31 Oct. Readings Foundation: More
    • NSW only grant, Help for Aboriginal organisations to build capacity to deliver the NDIS. ADHC: More
    • Records Access Documentation grants for orgs to document records relating to care leavers.F&C: More


    SURVEYS & RESEARCH PARTICIPATION


    PUBLICATIONS
     

    Breckenridge, J and Flax, G (2016). Service and support needs of specific population groups that have experienced child sexual abuse, Sydney: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

    Comber, B. (2016). Poverty, place and pedagogy in education: research stories from front-line workers. The Australian Educational Researcher, September 2016, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 393–417.

    Proeve, M,  Malvaso,C and DelFabbro, P (2016). Evidence and frameworks for understanding perpetrators of institutional child sexual abuse: a report commissioned and funded by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

    Quadara, A, Stathopoulos, M and Carson, R (2016). Family relationships and the disclosure of institutional child sexual abuse. Sydney: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
     

    CONFERENCES, EVENTS & TRAINING



    SAVE THE DATE

    5th Child Aware Approaches Conference
    Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
    15-16 May 2017

    Children & young people to feature in research event hosted by 
    the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse
    RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
    Sydney: 28 October
    Free registration: More

    FRSA National Conference 2016
    Measuring Success in the Family and Relationship Sector
     for the wellbeing of children, families and communities

    29 Nov – 1 Dec 2016
    National Convention Centre Canberra: More

    MENTAL HEALTH SUPER SUMMIT
    Online: 6-23 October
    You decide what you pay. Proceeds to charity.
    Mental Health Academy and Act for Kids: More


  • 23 Sep 2016 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Bill 2016 Submission to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee inquiry into the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Bill 2016, and the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2016 By email: eec.sen@aph.gov.au 22 September 2016

    Australian Community Children’s Services (ACCS) is the peak body representing Australia's not-for-profit community children's services and those who support the right of children to access these services. ACCS has branches in each state and territory throughout Australia.

    ACCS is committed to:

    • children, families and communities;
    • children’s entitlements for the best care, education and health services;
    • community ownership;
    • connected services for children, families and local communities;
    • cost effective services - not for profit; and
    • cultural diversity and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as custodians of the land.

    ACCS calls on the Senate to vote against the Jobs for Families Child Care Package legislation in its current form. The Bill needs significant amendments to protect the interests of the tens of thousands of families and children using community owned and not-for-profit children’s services.

    Children’s best interests must be the first principle and underpinning rationale for all deliberations, recommendations to the Australian Government and government policies.

    The focus of government support must be on the rights of the child to access high quality education and care. ACCS urges Senators to recommend redrafting of the legislation to ensure:

     We achieve a less complex system of funding education and care in Australia

     all children have subsidised access to education and care, up to 2 full days per week, regardless of whether their family meets any activity test

     there are no barriers to participation in education and care for children and families experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage.

    Child Care Subsidy

    The proposal to streamline Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate into one single subsidy paid directly to services is sensible and welcome. ACCS believes that the provision of this subsidy is an important and effective workforce participation strategy and it is also important to acknowledge the role it plays in early (and middle) childhood education.

    Activity Test - Removal of universal access to two days per week of subsidised education and care

    Currently all children can access two full days per week (up to 24 hours) of subsidised education and care regardless of whether their family meets an activity test. The proposed changes remove this universal access to education and care and take Australia backwards in the early (and middle) childhood policy arena.

     Families with an income over $65,710 where one parent does not meet an activity test will no longer receive any subsidy.

     Families with an income of less than $65,710 will have their access cut in half from 2 days (around 18-24 hours) per week to one full day or two half days (12 hours) per week.

    This will mean some children will be excluded from early learning environments before they start school and children experiencing vulnerability could have their access halved. This is despite evidence that:

     the period from birth to 3 years is the most significant for brain development and lays down lifelong foundations for children’s wellbeing, learning and development across all domains

     all children benefit from quality early learning environments

     participation in quality early learning environments is a significant protective factor for at risk children and children from vulnerable backgrounds

     universal provision of education and care is by far the most effective way to ensure participation of children experiencing vulnerability

     investment in early education also provides long term economic benefits not just for families but for communities and nations.

    The impact of these change on the wellbeing of many children and their learning and developmental outcomes must not be ignored. It is of great concern that a ‘No Change’ option for this was not presented as part of the June 2015 Child Care Assistance Package Regulation Impact Statement, and that the impact of these changes has not been fully investigated or costed by the government.

    Currently long day care services usually offer families a daily booking, with children able to attend any hours that suit the family within the opening hours of the centre. This booking and charging structure allows the service to provide maximum flexibility for all families and ensures that operating costs are covered to enable the service to open for extended hours.

    It has been suggested that children could still attend services on two days per week if services adjust their booking practices and charge for two 6 hour sessions instead of whole days. This is not likely to happen as services still have to cover the same operational costs and will need to continue to charge a full day rate to remain viable. Families who are only eligible for 12 hours of subsidy per week will either not attend services because they are unaffordable or they will reduce their bookings to one day per week, which is clearly not in the best interests of the child and family.

    If services were to change their booking practice to allow for 6 hour sessions, they may need to increase fees significantly to cover their budget shortfall. This would make child care less affordable for all families, exclude those who could not afford the increase completely and potentially lead to closures for services in some areas. It would create a two tier system that stigmatises low income families and does not allow them the same level of flexibility and family support that other families can access.

    Activity Test – Stepped Approach

    ACCS believes the three step activity test in this legislation is problematic. It will add complexity for families, services and government – the exact opposite of what the government intended when children’s services funding was referred to the Productivity Commission in 2013.

    This stepped approach will make it very challenging for families whose activity varies from week to week. It is essential that casual employees and people who juggle a mix of part time and other work are able to maintain their child care bookings and that their subsidy does not vary from week to week.

    Recommendation:

    Provide all families with access to 2 full days (up to 18- 24 hours per week) subsidy regardless of whether they meet an activity test.

    Recommendations:

     Simplify the stepped activity test. Provide all families with access to 4 full days (up to 48 hours) subsidy per fortnight and provide families that are engaged in more than 16 ‘hours of activity’ with access to a maximum of 100 hours of subsidy per fortnight. The reality is families only use the child care they need; the 3 step activity test just adds unnecessary complexity.

     If the government progresses the 3 step activity test

    o Set Step 1 minimum hours at up to 4 full days (or 48 hours) per fortnight

    o For families with variable hours of work, base hours of activity on number of hours available for work and approve for blocks of 6 months (with provision for an increase in eligible hours to be approved upon request of the family during this period)

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services

    The measures proposed in the package under the Child Care Safety Net, in particular the Community Child Care Fund do not adequately mediate the challenges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood services will face under the package because:

     the Community Child Care Fund is grossly inadequate to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, making up under 1% of the $10.5 billion investment in the mainstream child care subsidy

     Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services will struggle to compete with strongly resourced mainstream providers in the competitive grants process for the Community Child Care Fund

     Community Child Care Fund grants seek short-term sustainability and fail to recognize the entrenched poverty, long-term unemployment and disadvantage that make sustainability without additional government funding impossible in many communities.

    There are a number of savings Government could consider to support increasing the maximum hours of subsidised care a child can receive from 12 hours per week to up to 18-24 hours per week (as is currently available) if their parents do not meet the work activity test including:

     reducing the subsidy high income families receive from the current proposed $9,500 per annum to $9,000 per annum or

     increasing the tapering rate at the top end so a greater proportion of high income earning families receive less Child Care Subsidy

    The Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Christian Porter MP, has recently flagged significant changes to the welfare system in Australia that include strategic measures to reduce the likelihood of young parents becoming welfare dependent. ACCS would also like to draw Senators’ attention to the fact that these very same young parents that Minister Porter talks about are amongst those most likely to be disadvantaged by the reductions to the minimum subsidized hours and the tightened activity test measures being proposed in this BiIl. The best way to deal with inequality and address the cycle of disadvantage is the provision of subsidized means tested universal access of at least 2 full days to quality early childhood education and care for all families and ensure simple access to increased hours to support workforce participation.

    Please contact Prue Warrilow, National Convenor on ph: 02 9261 1855 or mob: 0408 020 904. Further details of our proposals and other concerns about this Bill, including research evidence, is available at:

    http://ausccs.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/20160129-Sub.pdf

    Recommendation:

    Provision of on-going funding for Budget Based Funded services and further investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services to enable flexible service provision to the most disadvantaged children within their communities


  • 28 Jul 2016 1:34 PM | Anonymous

    National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Children's Day

    4 August 2016

    "... a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children" and "an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that community, culture and family play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child." (SNAICC)

    REGISTER AN EVENT
    VISIT WEBSITE

    • National Framework dynamic data and report card released. AIHW: More
    • Australian Human Rights Commission on this week's Royal Commission announcement. AHRC: More
    • GoFundMe campaign: For the children #4Corners set up by 15 Australian academics. Kerry Arabena: More
    • Video: End violence against children. EVAC: View
    • Quarterly research update from the Institute of Child Protection Studies. ACU: More
    • Social progress index report measures basic human needs, foundations of wellness & opportunity. SPI: More
    • Intergenerational trauma webinar, Our Future, Our Way, 4 Aug. Healing Foundation: More
    • Free webinar, 11 Aug, Placing family at the centre of mental health recovery. CFCA: More
    • Hey sis, we've got your back, a network preventing sexual assault in Aboriginal communities. Hey Sis: More
    • CFCA webinar (11 Aug) placing family at the centre of mental health recovery. AIFS: More
    • Position Vacant for remote NT Early Childhood Teacher. Contact Inc: More
    SURVEYS/ CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS
    • Survey to increase understanding of the early years, to help parents support their children. ELEB: More
    • Mothering in the context of intimate partner violence: Perceptions of service providers seek participants for study on DV service providers' experiences regarding the effect of IPV on parenting stress. CQU: More
    RESOURCES
    • My Child's Support Network Guide - developed in partnership with parents who live with a mental illness, their children, supporters and professionals. COPMI: More
    • Legal toolkit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. ACT Human Rights & Women's Legal Ctr: More
    • Booklet - Stepping up for kids: understanding and supporting children who have experienced family and domestic violence. ACATLGN: More
    PUBLICATIONS

     

    Early Childhood Intervention Australia (2016). National Guidelines: Best practice in early childhood intervention. Sydney: Early Childhood Intervention Australia

    Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, 2016,Achieving stability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home careSNAICC Policy Position Statement July 2016
     

    CONFERENCES, EVENTS & TRAINING

    Parenting Research Centre training
    to improve outcomes for parents with learning difficulties

    Evidence-based parent education programs suitable for practitioners working in the homes of parents with learning difficulties and for those who work in disability, health, child protection, welfare or family support.

    • Healthy & Safe: Melbourne: 10 August 
      Help parents manage home dangers, accidents and childhood illness
    • Parenting Young Children: Melbourne: 11-12 August 
      Help parents develop positive parent-child interactions and improve child care skills
      Includes four hours of scheduled post-training telephone supportMore

    Autism Health and Well Being Expo
    Melbourne: 31 July: More

    ACWA 2016 Conference
    Pathways to Protection and Permanency:
    Getting it right for children, young people and families

    Sydney: 15-17 August: More

    Griffith University NDIS Symposia Series
    Housing for people with disability: Let's take action 

    Brisbane: 8 August 2016, 8.30am - 4.30pm: More

    National Multicultural Women's Conference
    Call for abstracts closes 5 August

    Sydney: 3-4 November: More

    Stop Domestic Violence Conference
    Seeking Abstracts by 22 August

    Brisbane: 5-7 Dec: More 

    3rd Biennial Australiasian Implementation Conference
    Group rates for not-for-profit organisations
    Melbourne: 5-6 October: More


  • 24 Jun 2016 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    24 June 2016

    AustralianCommunity Children’s Services

    PO Box 11, Northcote Plaza

    Northcote VIC 3070

    Thank you for the opportunity to outline Labor’s plan for early education and care in Australia.

    Labor believes better early education and care is essential to a strong economy and a fair society.

    Every child deserves the very best start – and that means access to affordable, quality early education and care. Early education is one of the smartest investments we can make as a nation. It helps parents return to work and sets children up for success at school and later in life.

    Please find responses to the issues you have raised below.

    Increased subsidy support for early education and care and ensuring all children continue to have access to two days per week of subsidised care

    Labor also recognises that many families struggle with the cost of child care, which has increased by more than 20 per cent under the Abbott-Turnbull Government; who have done nothing to make child care more affordable for ordinary families in the last three years.

    That is why a Shorten Labor Government will deliver an immediate increase in child care support that is fairer and will make child care more affordable for over a million families.

    Our package will give parents the child care relief they need now – from 1 January 2017 – not in two years’ time as announced by Liberals. Labor’s plan will take pressure off the family budget and help grow the economy supporting more parents to return to work, or work more.

    In government, Labor will not proceed with the Liberals’ child care changes in their current form, because they will leave one in three families worse off. The impacts of the Government’s proposed activity test would cut access to early education in half for many vulnerable children, and push others out of the system altogether.

    By boosting the current system Labor will ensure that all children continue to have access to two days of vital early education. As part of continuing the current system, the Priority of Access criteria would be maintained.

    A Shorten Labor Government will increase assistance for families through the current system from 1 January 2017 – making sure all children continue to have access to two days (24 hours) of early education a week.

    With Labor’s plan:

     Low and middle income families will benefit from an increase to the Child Care Benefit of 15 per cent – an increase up to $31 per child per week, or up to $1,627 per year.

     The annual cap on the Child Care Rebate will be increased from $7,500 to $10,000 per child, leaving families up to $2,500 per child, per year, better off.

    A Shorten Labor Government, Labor will work with experts, the sector, parents and educators to examine whether it is possible to fix the problems with the Liberals' proposed changes. Labor will make sure early education and care reform gets the balance right between children’s development and parents’ workforce participation.

    Unlike the Liberals, Labor will consult transparently and provide information about any proposals to experts, parents and the sector. There will be none of the Liberals’ secrecy agreements or gag orders. Australian families expect and deserve an open and constructive policy discussion they can participate in.

    To ensure the early education and care sector has a formal role in shaping future policy, Labor will re-establish the National Children’s Services Forum.

    Before the last election, the Liberals promised to make child care more affordable for Australian families, but they have gone a whole term in government without delivering any relief.

    Increasing the availability of early education and care places

    Many parents face long and frustrating waiting lists to access early education and care services – with the current arrangements limiting work options for parents. A Shorten Labor Government will also act to address the issue of waiting lists and help parents return to work faster.

    To help tackle waiting lists, Labor will invest $100 million over three years from 2017-18 so services in areas of very high demand can expand, creating more places where families need them. Community and not-for-profit services will be prioritised, along with areas where vulnerable or disadvantaged children do not have adequate access to early education.

    We will also make grants of up to $50,000 available to expand up to 1,200 Outside School Hours Care services in areas of high demand, investing $63 million over three years from 2017-18.

    Labor’s plan will also include:

     Cracking down on unjustified price increases – New transparency and accountability standards, along with extra powers to investigate unjustified price increases and stop price gouging.

     Supporting flexible Family Day Care – Investing an additional $50 million to support improvements to the Family Day Care system, including flexible options for families and enhancing the education, investigation and compliance programs.

     Better services for Indigenous children and children in remote areas – Increasing support for children in Budget Base Funded Services by 15 per cent, in line with the increase to the Child Care Benefit. This will allow services to limit costs to families, expand places where needed and improve quality. Labor will also provide $25 million for capital and quality improvements at Indigenous Budget Base Funded services and commit $6 million to expanding mobile services into areas that do not currently have access to early education. Labor will also provide $57 million so Indigenous Children and Family Centres can continue to operate, expand the number of places and provide more wrap-around services.

     Valuing our early education workforce - $150 million investment towards developing the early education workforce – developing a new Early Years’ Workforce Strategy and establishing a national Educator Professional Development Program. This will support the continued implementation of the National Quality Framework. Importantly, Labor will also make submissions to the Fair Work Commission proceedings in support of professional wages for early childhood educators.

    Supporting a professional early education and care workforce A Shorten Labor Government will urgently develop a new Early Years Workforce Strategy, which will:  Value early childhood educators and their work.  Support increased professionalism of the workforce.  Enable the full implementation of the National Quality Framework.  Treat the development of the early childhood workforce as seriously as the school workforce. The strategy will be developed taking into account the results of the latest Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce Census and in partnership with educators, experts and the sector.

    A fair Paid Parental Leave scheme In 2011, Labor delivered Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme. Since then, more than 730,000 families have been given extra support to spend more time at home in the critical early months of their child’s life.

    Last year on Mother’s Day – the Abbott-Turnbull Government announced huge cuts to Labor’s Paid Parental Leave scheme, which would force parents to choose between returning to work early and missing out on time with their newborn, or staying at home and having their living standards drastically reduced.

    A Shorten Labor Government will retain existing Paid Parental Leave entitlements to give eligible new parents 18 weeks’ pay at the National Minimum Wage in addition to any employer provisions. Under Labor’s policy, each year 80,000 families with new babies will be as much as $11,800 better off than they would be under the Liberals. This is a modest and affordable scheme that appropriately targets assistance to women on low and middle incomes. About 75 per cent of parents receiving Labor’s Paid Parental Leave scheme are on incomes of between $10,000 and $70,000 a year.

    Protecting children in immigration detention Labor’s immigration policy is centred on a humane and compassionate approach, while maintaining appropriate deterrents to prevent people smugglers preying on some of the world’s most vulnerable people. A Shorten Labor Government will stand firm on maintaining a policy of offshore processing to keep this perilous boat journey shut. Labor will focus on removing people from detention as soon as possible, in particular children and their families.

    Labor believes in a compassionate approach to asylum seekers which enables refugees to progress their claims safely and securely. Labor will also empower the Commonwealth Ombudsman to provide independent oversight of Australia’s onshore detention network and will continue to ensure that those working in the immigration system enjoy the benefit of whistleblower protections to speak out about any maladministration and corruption.

    A Shorten Labor Government will also appoint an advocate, independent of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, backed by the resources and statutory powers necessary to pursue the best interests of those children, including the power to bring court proceedings on a child’s behalf.

    This will not reduce the Minister’s obligations in relation to unaccompanied non-citizen children or the ability of other interested parties to take court action against the Minister. The Independent Children’s Advocate will have access to all unaccompanied minors in detention and in the

    community to ensure their rights and interests are protected. Labor will also legislate to impose mandatory reporting of child abuse in all offshore and onshore immigration detention facilities. Finally, Labor will restore fast and fair processing of asylum claims for those people already living in Australia. This will see us reinstate references to the UN Refugees Convention in the Migration Act to reverse the Turnbull Liberal Government’s retrograde efforts to undermine international law. We will reinstate access to the Refugee Review Tribunal and abolish the Independent Assessment Authority established by the Turnbull Government.

    For more information on Labor’s plan for early education and care visit http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/investing_in_early_education_care

    Yours sincerely,

    ALP Information Services Unit

    Australian Labor Campaign Headquarters

    www.alp.org.au


  • 16 Jun 2016 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    • Proud moment as 55 leaders gathered to support the 2016 Redfern Statement. National Congress: More
    • Report into employment discrimination against older Australians & Australians with disability. AHRC: More
    • Support for community organisations to build resilience to disasters and emergencies. ACOSS: More
    • Make your submission to improve outcomes in Australian Government services. Productivity Commission. More
    • Art mentoring program launched for young Aboriginal visual artists in Victoria. VACCA: More
    • Register your interest to attend a 2hr DV workshop on abuse facilitated by technology. eSafety: More
    • The Valuing Children Initiative has set out its priorities to Federal politicians: Centrecare Inc & Parkerville: More

    SURVEYS                               

    • Call to early childhood staff for a survey on the use of toys that represent a disability. Macquarie University: More
    • Carers and practitioners needed to participate in Raising Expectations, a research project aiming to improve education outcomes for young people in care. CFEFW: More

    RESOURCES

    • Video: Adolescent health and wellbeing: Professor George Patton (2:13). LancetTV: View
    • Parent training programs that address behaviour issues in children and adolescents. CEBC: More
    • Video: Building Resilience in Young People - interview with Andrew Fuller. Generation Next: View
    • Free treatment for women with post-natal depression. MumMoodBooster: More

    PUBLICATIONS


    Breckenridge, J., Chung, D., Spinney, A., Zufferey, C. (2016). National mapping and meta-evaluation outlining key features of effective “safe at home” programs that enhance safety and prevent homelessness for women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence : Key findings and future directions. Sydney : ANROWS

    Krakouer, Jacynta (2016). Literature Review relating to the current context and discourse surrounding Indigenous Early Childhood Education, School Readiness and Transition Programs to Primary School. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.

    Sutherland, G., McCormack, A., Pirkis, J., Vaughan, C., Dunne-Breen, M., Easteal, P., & Holland, K. (2016). Media representations of violence against women and their children: Final report (ANROWS Horizons, 03/2016). Sydney: ANROWS
     

    CONFERENCES, EVENTS & TRAINING


    FRSA National Conference
    Call for Abstracts Extended to 26 June

    Measuring Success in the Family and Relationship Sector:
    For the wellbeing of children, families and communities

    Canberra: 29 Nov-1 Dec: More
     


    Adult Sibling Forum
    Brisbane: 1 July: More
      

    Stop Domestic Violence Conference
    Call for Abstracts Now Open

    Brisbane: 5-7 Dec: More

    Blue Knot Foundation
    National Training Calendar

    More


    HOLD THE DATE
    Griffith University NDIS Symposia Series
    Housing for people with disability: What does an inclusive housing system look like?
    Brisbane: 8 August: Email for details
     


    Families Australia is a national, member-based, not-for-profit, peak organisation that promotes the needs and interests of families.

      CEO Fortnightly Blog
      'Healing to thrive:
      the inspirational
      June Oscar'


    Families Australia membership benefits: priority notification for National Families Week, reduced fees at events, participation in national policy forums and engagement with a diverse network of organisations committed to the wellbeing and interests of Australian families.

    Families Australia welcomes new members to share our vision
    'that Australian families, in all their diversity, enjoy the greatest possible wellbeing'. Join

    National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing: More
    Information about the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children and the Third Action Plan (2015 - 2018) is available
    here.

     


    PO Box 212 Camberwell VIC 3124
    admin@forgottenaustralians.org.au
    T: +61 488 460 646 
    www.forgottenaustralians.org.au

    Forgotten Australians resources:
    Educational booklet. Download
    here.
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    Find and Connect Australia.
    Connect to your local Forgotten Australians support service on 1800 16 11 09. Find State-based historical information:
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  • 10 Jun 2016 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    What would you ask the lead early childhood spokespeople of the key parties contesting the election?

    We want the people working at the heart of early learning – people like you – the chance to hear first-hand from the decision-makers that will determine the future of early learning in Australia.

    The Early Learning: Everyone Benefits campaign and Early Childhood Australia have organised an election forum with representatives from all the key parties, dedicated to talking about the future of early learning in Australia. 

    For the first time, we'll be livestreaming this event on Facebook so that all educators, all parents, all people across the country can watch and ask questions live. 

    From 6.30pm Eastern Time on Monday 20 June we’re livestreaming the National Early Childhood Federal Election forum on our Facebook page. Add your name and we'll send you a link to watch it 

    With only a few weeks until Australians go to the polls, we are determined to keep early learning on the election agenda. We’ll have Labor’s Kate Ellis, a representative from the Liberal Party, the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young, and Skye Kakoschke-Moore from the Nick Xenephon Team to explain their party’s position on participation, the NQF, universal access, and much more.

    This is your opportunity to engage with the leaders responsible for early childhood policy who are campaigning for our votes. 

    Let's get a conversation happening on early learning. Add your name and say you'll watch the livestream.

    We hope to see you there,

    Carolin Wenzel
    Early Learning: Everyone Benefits Campaign


  • 09 Jun 2016 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    NATIONAL CONVENOR’S UPDATE

    Prue Warrilow

    ACCS has been involved in a wide range of activities in 2015 financial year. At a national level we continue to deliver extremely well for a small voluntary-based organisation. This participation has included:

     Early Childhood Ministerial Advisory Council. This is a challenging environment

    to be in is as the conversations are confidential however, members feedback

    has enabled me to represent ACCS views effectively and enthusiastically

     Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholder forums and consultations

     ASQA with Brian Newman and Kim Bertino bringing their expertise to proactively

    represent ACCS views in these important forums

     ACECQA - stakeholder forums and individual organisational consultation

     Department of Education consultations and stakeholder meetings

     a variety of submissions that emanated from the Productivity Commission review,

    Regulatory Impact Statement and related enquiries 

     Families Australia that I Chair as ACCS nominee ensuring that the children's

    services voice is heard in the wider child and family services arena

     Early Learning Everyone Benefits where ACCS was asked to be a participant in the reference group

    In the 2015 financial year I spent around nine weeks (343 hours) actively engaged in ACCS work. I'm not alone in doing this work as I am supported by a strong executive, and other state/territory members who participate as  ACCS representatives in a variety of different forums.

    ACCS has also managed a significant transition with the secretariat moving from Community Child Care Victoria (CCCVic) to Barbara Romeril. I want to thank Lynn Turner from CCCVic and Barbara for facilitating such a smooth transition enabling ACCS to continue to function throughout this process.

    There are a number of critical issues and risks that I think ACCS needs to consider moving forward.

    These are:

     emerging alternate ECEC voices with extensive paid resources in advocacy and

    media

     ACCS staying relevant as part of the national agenda including looking at

    leveraging existing relationships, both professional and personal. Early Learning Everyone Benefits is an example of this kind of leveraging

     the election and ongoing conversations around the Jobs for Families package. This is most likely to be implemented in 2018 financial year, potentially post introduction of a new IT system enabling monitoring and measuring of family attendance by hours used not hours booked. This could result in a shift to funding for hours used only I want to thank Barbara Romeril in fulfilling the secretariat role in helping to ensure that ACCS voice is out and about.

    I want to thank all of the executive and their active participation in driving ACCS forward. Without the executives commitment, enthusiasm and experience this would not be possible. ACCS is only as strong as the member voices that enhance our conversations. It has been a privilege to work with the executive and ACCS members over the past year.

    ACCS and the Federal Election

    In the current federal election campaign, ACCS will be assessing the policies of the major parties against what we see as the key policies that Australia needs in order to support its children to thrive:

     Build a skilled and professional early childhood workforce – no HECS fees, free TAFE

     No children and their families in detention in Australia or off-shore

     Increase the maximum hours of subsidised early childhood education and care for children of non-working parents to 2 days per week or 18 to 24 hours per week

     Increase the fee subsidy for low income families to 90 per cent of the full costs of ECEC and to 100 per cent of the full costs for children who are at risk or vulnerable

    We also urge the parties to commit to implementing the following policies:

     Maintain current Priority of Access criteria to ensure access for families experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage

     Continue full implementation of National Quality Framework

     Invest in availability – capital grants, low/no interest loans to not-for-profit providers;

    investment in flexible services (mobiles, occasional care, Aboriginal services);

    investment in planning for early and middle years services

     Provide government paid parental leave ACCS is also actively supporting the sector campaign Early Learning Everyone Benefits, which is already having an impact on the policies of the major parties.

    Early Learning: Everyone Benefits National Campaign

    ACCS is proud to be an active supporter of the campaign for two days a week of quality early learning for all Australian children.

    To find out more visit: www.everyonebenefits.org.au

    Early Learning: Everyone Benefits is a positive national campaign which aims to:

     increase public awareness and understanding of the benefits of investing in early learning (birth to five years) for Australia’s future prosperity

     increase access to quality programs that amplify children’s development by securing political commitment to increasing early learning.

    It is supported by leading Australian early childhood peak bodies, research and advocacy organisations, and service providers.

    Early learning means the vital stages of children’s development from birth to age five, including brain development, cognitive skills, motor skills, social and emotional wellbeing—all of the skills needed for lifelong learning. Early learning occurs in formal settings (early childhood education and care) with educators but also at home and in relationships with family members and caregivers. Our campaign recognises that the main vehicle for children’s learning is play.

    Why invest more in early learning?

     One in five Australian children start school vulnerable in their social, emotional or cognitive development and will fail to catch up, according to the Australian Early Development Census. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children it’s more than two in five who are vulnerable.

     Australian and international research tells us that attending at least two days of early learning per week improves children’s educational outcomes at school up to 13 years later.

     Children who attend a high-quality early childhood program in the year before school are up to 40 per cent ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3 in primary school.

     By age five, a child’s vocabulary will predict their educational success and outcomes at age 30.

     All children benefit from early learning, and vulnerable children benefit the most.

    Why this campaign is important:

     Australia is in the bottom third of OECD countries for attendance of three year olds in early learning.

     Participating in quality early learning (birth to five years) can greatly improve young children’s:

    o social and emotional skills

    o physical wellbeing

    o communication and cognitive abilities in literacy and numeracy—up to 13 years later.

    This campaign is about educating the Australian community and politicians about the importance and benefits of early learning.

    Our goals

     To have all Australian children benefit from participating in early learning, particularly vulnerable children who will gain the most.

     To have political parties commit to policies that will support 100 per cent of four year olds and 90 per cent of three year olds to attend early learning for at least two days per week, and for younger children to be able to attend as needed by their families.

     To change the national conversation on the value of early learning and convince our politicians that supporting attendance in early learning today will increase the future prosperity for all of us.

    Join us to spread the word that our future prosperity depends on how we invest in our children today!

    CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT LOWERING OF SCHOOL ENTRY AGE IN TASMANIA

    Zoe Manning and Josique Lynch 

    The Tasmanian Government is reviewing the Education Act. The ECEC sector in Tasmania is deeply concerned that one of the key reforms under the draft Bill is to lower the school starting age. A Regulatory Impact Statement is out, seeking feedback including what impact this change would have on the operations of ECEC services if children are attending 15 hours per week of kindergarten in a school setting.

    Part of the rationale for the change is that Tasmania has the oldest school starting age of all states and territories for children entering full‐time school. The  government asserts that children in other states and territories are able to begin fulltime school when they are three to seven months younger than their Tasmanian counterparts.

    However it is not easy to compare kindergarten age and attendance between states and territories accurately because relatively few kindergarten programs interstate operate within the school system, as in Tasmania.

    Western Australia has a similar system, with the non-compulsory Kindy Year delivered in schools. It has become the year that the majority of children enter the formal school system, primarily because parents believe that their children must attend or they’ll be left behind. Also it is less costly than paying child care fees.

    The schools do a good job at marketing their Kindy programs to parents with many offering familiarisation sessions for very young children, siblings of Primary School age children, well before Kindy age. Universal Access dollars go only to Education Department early learning programs in WA so the Kindy hours have increased from 11 hours per week to 15 hours.

    The school starting age was lowered in WA about 5 years ago; so children start the first year of compulsory schooling if they turn 5 by June of that year.

    Another reason given by the Tasmanian Government for the proposed change is that it provides earlier access to quality early learning and development experiences for all children. But what do they mean by ‘quality early learning’? It is concerning that the government believes that formal literacy training at an earlier age will improve literacy levels.

    In a recent opinion piece in the Hobart Mercury, the Tasmanian Education Minister referred to ‘benefits of early engagement in positive play-based learning environments ... at … a school’. There seems to be confusion within the Government about the difference between access to early childhood education and access to education.

    There is no question that children (especially the vulnerable) benefit from access to high quality early education and care; our concern is that the formal school setting is not the best environment from a safety and emotional security point of view.

    In early learning programs in schools in WA, play is limited in many cases and is timetabled rather than the concept of Learning Through Play being central to the program’s philosophy.

    Impact on Children The level of individual maturity and child independence varies significantly within the 3-5 year old cohort. They have vast differences in their level of emotional security and resilience, selfmanagement and practical independence. Many 3 ½ year olds are still requiring sleep or rest during the day and some are still in nappies or toilet training and require assistance. Will kindergartens in schools be equipped to respond sensitively?

    The WA experience confirms t hese fears. There is a lot expected of these young children in WA who are expected to be ‘school ready’ as early as 3.5years of age, for example, they are expected to know how to write their names, be able to sit andlisten for an extended period of time, count and do simple sums, and ‘behave’ in structured environments. These young children have not yet developed self-regulation skills, so there has been a reported increase in the level of anxiety among young children as a result.

    In Tasmania, there are concerns about young children being in before and after school care, potentially 3 ½ year olds in with 12 year olds. Also 3 ½ year olds could potentially be in 4 different settings outside of the home each week (before school care, kindergarten, after school care and LDC) – not the continuity of care promised in the Early Years Learning Framework.

    Impact on ECEC Services

    The loss of income to FDC and LDC could potentially close many services and those that can remain open may not be able to provide as high a quality of program due to the loss of economy of scale. LDC estimate that if 3 ½ year olds were to attend kinder 15 hours per week utilisation would decrease 40%; this would rise to 75% for services that run just 3-5 year old programs. If Centres or FDC providers in rural and remote areas become unviable they will have to close.

    Impact on Families

    If services are forced to close, families will have no choice by to leave children in “backyard care” or force the parent out of the workforce due to care not being available.

    The reduction in utilisation for older children will mean that fees for younger children will need to rise.

    The Tasmanian Minister acknowledges the need to invest in changing schools to be able to deliver quality ECEC to younger children, including teacher qualifications and promotion of the EYLF. Given past history, the ECEC sector is not confident that this can be done.

    It was reported in the WA newspapers recently that as a result of falling literacy and numeracy levels it is proposed that the Kindy age children will be tested before they begin school! Is this the future for Tasmania’s young children?

    ACCS WA Branch Update

    Sally Griffiths

    Western Australian branch of ACCS, Carewest has been working diligently to promote the sustainability of the organisation. With the election of a new Executive Committee earlier in the year there is a new found enthusiasm. Subsequently a subcommittee has been organised to research and implement strategies to promote membership and services for the NFP community based sector in WA.

    Members both past and present are being surveyed to identify the challenges they are currently facing for the peak body to ascertain how it may be able to assist them.

    A Professional Development program has also been developed providing very affordable and valuable support for directors reflective of the survey’s responses including recruiting and managing employees and maintaining mental health and wellbeing.

    There has been a positive response to date and we seek to ensure a strong and motivated approach as we build membership and participation. In addition we have been liaising with the local ECA branch to support and spread the word about the Everyone Benefits Campaign.

    WA delegates have also organised to meet with the state Education Minister Peter Collier to welcome him and discuss important issues for the sector and introduce the ACCS Election Platform along with supporting evidence to promote NFP quality early childhood services for every child.

    ACCS AGM and Face-to-face Meeting in October

    ACCS National Council held its AGM in May and for the first time, we had an election for National Convenor. Prue Warrilow was returned as National Convenor and the Executive is:

    National Convenor: Prue Warrilow (NSW)

    Deputy National Convenor: Linda Davison (Vic)

    Secretary: Kim Bertino (NSW)

    Treasurer: Sally Griffiths (WA)

    The annual face-to-face meeting is scheduled to be held during the ECA National Conference in Darwin in October. The Executive will plan an agenda to enable members to discuss a key policy issue facing the early childhood sector in the wake of the result of the current federal election.

    At this stage, the plans for the meeting are:

    Date: Thursday 6 October

    Time: lunch break in the ECA national conference program

    Venue: Room 4 at the Darwin Convention Centre

    We hope you are planning to attend the conference, so keep an eye out for final details of the ACCS national policy discussion.

    To join ACCS or to unsubscribe from this email list, contact the delegates in your state or territory:

    NSW: Prue Warrilow, National Convenor, p.warrilow@familiesatwork.com

    Kim Bertino, National Secretary, Kim.Bertino@ku.com.au

    VIC: Linda Davison National Deputy Convenor, clarendon.cc@kindergarten.vic.gov.au

    Lynn Turner, lturner@cccinc.org.au

    WA: Sally Griffiths, National Treasurer, sally.unicare@bigpond.com

    Josique Lynch, joonccc@iinet.net.au

    Alisha Berry, joonccc@iinet.net.au

    TAS: Zoe Manning, z_manning@netspace.net.au

    SA: Lee Jones, Lee.jones410@schools.sa.edu.au

    Robyn Geisler, lurra.childcare@internode.on.net

    QLD: Cathy Kennedy, cathy.kennedy@cofcqld.com.au

    Kerrie Wilson, aspencomcentre@gmail.com

    NT: Cheryl Anderson, grayccc@bigpond.net.au


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