Government support for ECEC within COVID-19 affected areas
Support measures for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services have been broadened, with the federal government amending the Minister’s Rules to enable services to waive gap fees and access additional absence days in any area declared a COVID-19 hotspot by the Commonwealth for more than seven days, where certain conditions are met.
A full list of these regions is available here on the Department of Employment, Skills and Education (DESE) website, accurate as of Tuesday 17 August 2021.
Whilst FDCA acknowledges the federal government’s modest recognition of hardship within the ECEC sector through this measure, alongside the provision of additional allowable absences in Commonwealth declared hotspot areas, we know that it is not enough for many educators and services in these areas. Gap fee waiver provisions alone will not be a suitable option for most educators due to the negative financial implications.
We also know that some educators and services are experiencing significant issues with the Rule around attending the last day of care, which is triggering CCS repayment actions, and attendances or enrolments are declining considerably in some areas.
As such, we continue our calls for a targeted funding support model that recognises the unique structure of the family day care sector and offers appropriate relief measures, for example, subsidising the gap fee for non-attendance and a tailored funding support package.
FDCA currently meets on a weekly basis with the Australian Government Early Childhood Education and Care Reference Group (ECECRG), which is a national stakeholder group that feeds directly into the DESE Executive and the Minister for Education and Youth. If you’re experiencing considerable hardship as a result of the lockdowns, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org as this information is invaluable in informing our conversations with governments and affecting positive policy change.
We will continue to push the Australian Government for more suitable funding support options and provide our members with updates on the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds. In the meantime, stay safe and thank you for your essential work in our communities.
Leadership in Family Day Care – Policy and Practice Workshop
Last Friday 13 August 2021, FDCA joined over 50 key stakeholders in the family day care sector, including family day care educators, coordinators, service leaders, policymakers and experts in the field to participate in a stimulating online interactive policy and practice workshop on Leadership in Family Day Care, hosted by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
The workshop represented the final phase of an important three phase collaborative research project funded by the Queensland Department of Education and led by a team of researchers from (QUT) and University of Queensland (UQ), in partnership with Family Day Care Association of Queensland, Early Childhood Australia (Queensland branch), Wynnum Family Day Care and Family Day Care Australia.
Acknowledging the unique context of family day care, the aim of this research project is to investigate effective leadership in family day care. The research comprises three phases:
- a qualitative study of three Queensland lighthouse case studies;
- a national online survey; and
- an interactive policy and practice workshop to explore the findings, insights and implications.
The purpose of last Friday’s interactive workshop was to:
- share initial findings from the research project regarding effective leadership in the family day care sector;
- seek insights from practitioners, policy makers and experts in the field on these findings to deepen our knowledge and understanding and feed into the final research report; and
- collaboratively explore policy and practice implications for the family day care sector and priorities going forward.
There is no doubt that this research, once completed, will offer valuable food for thought to services wishing to mobilise leadership at all levels and stimulate a commitment to collective accountability, understand educator perspectives on leadership and support educator professional growth and autonomy.
Nutrition in family day care
FDCA also joined key sector staff, government officials and health-based peak bodies in a Nutrition in ECEC Knowledge Sharing seminar this Monday 16 August 2021.
The seminar outlined a number of important initiatives happening across each jurisdiction to encourage healthy living and healthy eating practices within early childhood.
Specific research conducted within the family day care sector found that positive practices within mealtimes are practiced far more often than not, but that more can be done in this space to support families to provide balanced options and support educators to create positive mealtime interactions.
The research also found that children who consume sandwiches or wraps on a regular basis are less likely to have a full range of vegetables, dairy and lean protein within their diets. Interestingly, the research noted that children from lower socio-economic areas attending family day care had higher healthy eating scores.
For more information on programs and resources on healthy living and healthy eating, you may wish to visit the following websites:
Know your educators! Relief educators, educator assistants and dual educators
Many FDCA members use educator assistants and relief educators, or operate as dual educators within their business.
But what does this mean for your insurance policy?
Our insurance experts break it down…
An Educator Assistant works no more than four hours at any one time for emergency situations, some transport or non-regular appointments. They are automatically covered under every educator’s public liability with FDCA. Our policy assumes that at different times you may have an educator assistant stand in for you and the policy is designed to encompass this without any further action from you.
A Relief Educator is an educator who assists the primary educator. They may stand in for you whilst you attend to other appointments or catch up on paperwork or planning. They may also stand in for you whilst you go on leave, or if you are ill and cannot work for a period. Relief Educators must be endorsed on your policy with the dates they will be working, to ensure our Insurance Team can make the necessary amendment to your policy and provide a certificate for the relief educator for that period.
If a Relief Educator provides care on behalf of more than one educator, they will require their own policy.
A Dual Educator arrangement is similar to a job share. Both educators work similar hours with the same children at the same address.
In this scenario, both educators are named on the policy and both are noted on the certificate of insurance. They are not required to buy separate policies, but rather they jointly purchase a dual policy and share the cost.
For more information on your insurance with FDCA, visit our website or talk to our team on 1800 658 699.