Change the EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE RELIEF PACKAGE to support IN HOME CARE

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The Prime Ministers announcement on Thursday of the Early Childhood Education Relief package has come at a heavy cost for the In Home Care Sector and whilst we endorse that these measures were required to save the Long Day Care sector, it is devastating that it has impacted the In Home Care program. The announcement of ‘free childcare’ set against a severe reduction in Government payments for this package has been an enormous cause of stress and uncertainty on our sector.

AHCA’s primary concern with the announcement is that In Home Care had been sought out as a preferred childcare option during the pandemic with increasing enrolments and high attendance rates. The Early Childhood Education and Relief package has effectively put that increase in demand on hold and prevented us from supporting more families who need us at this challenging time.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that anybody working right now is making a positive contribution to the economy. Yet this announcement affords only 50% of our fees to us. The reality is that by paying only 50% of our fee, many of us will be unable to continue to support families, many of whom are vulnerable and unable to work or support their children during the pandemic without their In Home Care Educator. The announcement means that in fact we are limited in the amount of care we can provide and unable to care for more families whose changing circumstances may mean that they become eligible for In Home Care.

We are working closely with our colleagues in the Family Day Care sector and have been advocating extensively on your behalf in meetings with the Department of Education, working through the barriers we see for service and sector viability. We have already influenced some positive changes.

Our advocacy efforts are focused on achieving the following goals:

In Home Care Educators should be funded to continue to support healthcare workers during non-standard hours of care, for whom care should be free;
In Home Care Educators should be funded to continue to support vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians, which make up 90% of the people accessing the services, where gap fees could remain payable; and
To allow In Home Care to access our 3,200 place allocation, which has already been budgeted for, so that we can continue to support healthcare workers and vulnerable Australians at this challenging time.

In Home Care Service Providers and Educators have proven to be resilient advocates for the vulnerable members of our national community. Every day you make a difference in the lives of the most unequal, disadvantaged, and marginalised children and families. Thank you for everything you are doing to fight for them now.

What you can do to help

Contact your local Federal member and explain how these changes will impact your service;
Ask your Educators and families to contact their local Federal member to explain how these cuts will impact their livelihoods;
Sign this petition 
Provide us with your data and case studies, so we can include this information in our advocacy.
Stay in communication with AHCA, contact any of our committee members at any time to discuss your service and the new ECEC package, and provide us with your ideas for additional advocacy opportunities.

Important links

https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/childcare/childcare-faq

https://www.education.gov.au/news/covid-19-early-childhood-education-and-care-relief-package-monday-6-april-additional-support

We are strengthened by your swift responses and our unity. Together we can get through this and we will come back stronger than ever.