Important COVID-19 update for educators and services
This past week has seen the federal government announce a funding package to assist early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, including family day care, that have been affected by extended lockdowns.
There have also been a number of key updates from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and the NSW and Victorian State Governments regarding ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and rules.
Read more to find out about:
- The Commonwealth Funding Package for ECEC services in Commonwealth-declared hotspots.
- Information for Victorian members.
- Information for NSW members.
- Information for members in the ACT .
Commonwealth Funding Package
Early education and child care services in Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 Hotspots are now eligible for Business Continuity Payments if:
- the Commonwealth hotspot runs for more than 7 days and the state or territory government has limited who can access child care, or
- the Commonwealth hotspot extends beyond 28 days.
Eligible family day care services may receive fortnightly payments of 25% of their pre-lockdown revenue, calculated up to the hourly cap.
Business continuity payments are contingent on services:
- having reasonable expectations attendance will drop below 50%;
- not accessing other Commonwealth Government-funded business supports;
- waiving gap fees for all families whose children are not attending;
- maintaining staffing levels; and
- agreeing to a fee freeze for the duration of business continuity payments.
FDCA has contacted the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) around the potential unsuitability of the funding package for many family day care services, with particular regard to:
- attendance levels across a family day care service are highly variable and, when aggregated, are in many instances unlikely to reach the 50% non-attendance threshold;
- funding will not flow directly to educators in need and business support funding from states and territories is highly variable, difficult to navigate and the threshold for decline in revenue is very high;
- the package imposes a condition that gap fees must be waived for all non-attending children, however, in many instances this is unsuitable in a family day care context.
FDCA will maintain our ongoing advocacy on this issue and keep members informed of progress in this area as it arises.
Information for Victorian members
The Victorian Government has announced new restrictions as of 1pm on Saturday 21 August 2021. These remain in place until 26 August 2021, however we encourage members to stay up to date by visiting www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
Importantly, the Victorian Government has advised that all ECEC services across Victoria will be closed except to children whose parents/carers are Authorised Workers, and vulnerable children, due to recent transmission in young people and the recent addition of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services as exposure sites.
For a comprehensive run down of exceptions to this rule, visit COVIDSafe Settings for more information.
Information for NSW members
The current lockdown rules in NSW continue until 28 August 2021. There are a number of important updates from the NSW State Government to be aware of. Please check the specific rules and restrictions for your area at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules.
Most significantly, parents and carers across the state are now strongly encouraged to keep their children at home, unless they need to access ECEC.
In addition, educators who live or work in the LGAs of concern must provide evidence of their first vaccination dose by 30 August. The Public Health Order has now been updated to advise of this requirement and additional guidance is expected to be provided by NSW Health. Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) understands that many of our members are affected by the vaccination mandate for NSW and we will continue to liaise with the NSW Regulatory Authority on this matter. In the interim, educators and service staff in the LGAs of concern can find information here on how to book a priority vaccination.
Lastly, Central Coast and Shellharbour are now considered part of Regional NSW, not Greater Sydney, and people travelling to these areas from Greater Sydney require a permit.
Information for ACT members
The current lockdown restrictions for ACT will continue until 5:00pm Thursday 2 September 2021.
The six essential reasons to leave home during this lockdown period include:
- to buy essential groceries and medicine;
- to access essential healthcare including in-home care;
- for essential work;
- to exercise outdoors for one hour per day in your region;
- to get a COVID-19 test; and/or
- to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
ECEC, including family day care, is permitted to remain open during this time for staff, vulnerable children and children whose parents cannot work from home.
REMINDER: FDCA 2021 National Conference - New dates announced
A reminder for our members that, following consultation with our Board, Conference Advisory Committee, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, the FDCA 2021 National Conference has been rescheduled to the new dates of Thursday 15 September 2022 – Saturday 17 September 2022 and will still be taking place in Tasmania at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart.
Although various options were considered, the overwhelming feedback has been, first and foremost, that coming together is key and that the opportunity to network and connect with friends and colleagues, in person, was central to the conference experience.
We believe that the revised dates allow sufficient ‘clear air’ beyond the current COVID-19 outbreak and the event such that we can move forward with confidence, while at the same time remaining within 12 months of the previous dates to minimise foreseeable complications for delegates in the rescheduling of flights and other arrangements.
Ticket sales for the conference have been paused for the moment, however we will advise members as soon as ticket sales for the FDCA 2022 National Conference resume. Conference delegates have been emailed additional information regarding their tickets.
If you have any questions or require further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2021 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards – NT and QLD Regional Educator Award Winners announced yesterday
Following a record-breaking 5,200 nominations, Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) again congratulates all 11 of our NT and QLD Regional Educator Winners! The incredible achievements of our NT and QLD winners is part of what makes our sector so unique and we are thrilled to recognise their achievements.
You can view the full list of NT and QLD Regional Educator Winners by clicking here or on the button below.
You can also visit our Facebook page to pass on your congratulations and stay up to date with ongoing announcements and coverage of our winners.
The NT and QLD Regional Educator Winners will now go into the running to be named as the NT/QLD National Educator Finalist.
Over the next three weeks, FDCA will announce the remaining Regional Educator Winners from around Australia. These announcements will be made as follows:
- TAS/VIC Regional Educator Winners – 31 August 2021
- SA/WA Regional Educator Winners – 7 September 2021
- ACT/NSW Regional Educator Winners – 14 September 2021
FDCA commends all of our nominees in the 2021 Awards and extends our thanks to everyone who has participated to make this year our biggest yet!
Winter edition of JiGSAW available now!
The winter edition of JiGSAW is available now through the FDCA Member Zone! To access the digital edition of JiGSAW, click here to enter your Member Zone.
The winter edition of JiGSAW includes a full listing of our 2021 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards nominees, a wonderful story on celebrating cultural diversity, a preview of FDCA’s 2021-2022 Member Initiatives and also some great features on our 2020 National Educator and Service of the year award winners.
What if I haven't activated my FDCA Member Zone?
To activate your FDCA Member Zone, follow these five simple steps:
- Click here to activate your free account (for the best experience, use the latest Chrome browser).
- Enter your registered email address.
- An email will then be sent to your email address; click on the 'create password' button.
- Create and confirm your password.
- Click here to log in and enter your FDCA Member Zone.