IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION & CARE RELIEF PACKAGE
Details regarding the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package are still working their way through the system. In the meantime, further information for members, Educators and families can be found here.
COVID-19 Latest Links – 6 May 2020
Key resources from Family Day Care Queensland for Services, Educators and Families
* High resolution copies of checklists can be emailed to Services, Educators and Families. Please email Emma.Beach@fdcqld.org to request a copy.
Key resources from Family Day Care Australia
Key resources from Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE)
Service Update – 18 May 2020
Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package – will “free childcare” end of June 28?
A review of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package is currently being undertaken. To date, there has been no announcement made about whether the relief package will continue post-June 28, by either the Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison, nor the Education Minister, Mr Dan Tehan.
We understand there are media reports suggesting the relief package will not continue past this date. We will provide an update on the latest information from the government as soon as it comes to hand.
Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment Eligibility Update
The Australian Government has announced a positive outcome for family day care with the expansion of the Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment eligibility criteria to account for many of the family day care Educators and services currently ineligible for JobKeeper payments.
Under these amendments, family day care services with current (sole trader) educators who are not eligible for the JobKeeper Payment can also now apply for the Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment using the current application form, as long as Educators apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) by 1 June 2020.
Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package Disbursement Calculator
Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) has now produced an Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package (ECECRP) Disbursement Calculator available to service members.
How can my service use the Disbursement Calculator?
To begin you will need to download the calculator by clicking here.
The calculator is built in Microsoft Excel and all endeavours have been made to make it as simple as possible. However, the disbursement of funds under the ECEC Relief Package is inherently complicated and, as such, the tool has some limitations in its flexibility to accurately reflect all of the different models of disbursement that are being applied by services.
An example scenario is available here.
The tool contains instructions that will guide you step-by-step through each of the four Processes as outlined in the Practice Guidance (developed by Deloitte Australia). The four Processes are:
- Determine if the reference period is reflective of average or current activity
- Determine payment portion for services
- Determine payment portion for educators
- Apply for and disburse supplementary payments
Important Information for Parents
Early childhood education and care services are open.
As at 26 March 2020, most early childhood services and outside school hours care services are open as normal. A small number of services have temporarily closed at their discretion or on advice from Queensland Health. While we strongly encourage you to contact your service directly, the Department of Education emergency closure portal also provides information about early childhood education and care closures.
Is it safe for your children to attend early childhood and education services.
The health of Queenslanders is our priority. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice is that pre-emptive closures are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time. AHPPC considers all childcare services essential. Services are advised to remain open at this time, but with risk mitigation measures in place.
These should include:
– exclusion of unwell staff, children and visitors
– enhanced personal hygiene for children, staff and parents
– full adherence to the NHMRC childcare cleaning guidelines
– local excursions are no longer permitted
– influenza vaccination for children, staff and parents
*Please visit the COVID-19 information for families and services operation page on the department’s website for more information, including links to health agencies.
New information regarding school aged children in care during ECEC Relief Package
In the case where a child is absent from school (for example because the school is closed due to COVID-19 or the parent withdraws them from school due to concerns about COVID-19), the child can attend a CCS Approved service, however, please note that during this session of care the following still applies:
The Child Care Subsidy Minister’s Rules (section 8(f)) require that there is no eligibility for a session of care:
(f) Where, during any part of the session, the child is attending school, or engaged in a formal schooling program (including a home schooling or distance education program).
This means that if a service provides any type of formal schooling program during the session of care, Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payment will not apply to this session.
For any ECEC COVID-19 related enquiries please phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or email ECEC.COVID19@qed.qld.gov.au
Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080
Health advice over the phone – 13 HEALTH / 13 432584
If you have any questions regarding your child’s care, your service’s requirements or associated COVID-19 implications, please contact us on 3399 3737.
FAQs – Managing FDC Services During COVID-19
Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package
- The ECEC Relief Package has replaced Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS).
- The ECEC Relief Package is designed to support families and children to access early education and care during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- All Services who were previously eligible for CCS and ACCS will automatically receive weekly payments under the new ECEC Relief Package.
Q: Do services need to apply for the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package?
A: No. Services who were previously registered and receiving CCS or ACCS will automatically begin receiving ECEC Relief Package funds.
Q: How are payments calculated for each service?
A: Payments are calculated as 50% of total fees or 50% of the existing hourly rate cap charged during the reference fortnight; 17 February – 2 March 2020. (With the exception of OSHC services who only provide Vacation Care and new services who were not operating during the reference week).
Q: How will payments be made?
A: Service Payments will be made into the service bank account:
- Week Commencing 6 April – First week payment.
- Week Commencing 13 April – two weekly payments. The additional week payment is to allow more time until services receive the Job Keeper Payments and whilst services consider the Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payments.
- Services will continue to receive weekly payments up to 21 June.
Q: How should services use these funds?
A: The ECEC Relief Package was designed to assist services to remain open to provide care for the children of essential workers, vulnerable or disadvantaged children and any other children enrolled as of the reference fortnight (17 February- 2 March 2020).
- Individual services need to decide how the funds are spent and/or distributed.
- FDDCAQ is working with FDCA to develop optional formulas to assist service to consider how services will distribute funds to Educators.
To remain eligible to receive the ECEC Relief Package services must:
- Remain open and providing care
- Comply with the Family Assistance Law
- Comply to National Quality Framework (Early Childhood Education and Care Services National Law, National Regulations and National Standards)
- Not charge or take fees from families attending to service
- Must maintain attendance records
- Must provide parents with statements of sessions of care
- Continue to make a referral to an appropriate support agency as per the existing ACCS (child wellbeing) referral requirements where children enrol at a service who otherwise would be considered ‘at risk’.
Q: Do services need to take additional enrolments or provide additional hours of care?
A: This is a service decision. Services are encouraged to consider:
- How they prioritise care to the children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and all other enrolled children.
- If the ECEC Relief Package combined with Job Keeper is enough to fund additional enrolments and care hours of children.
- Do services have sufficient evidence of new enrolments and/ additional care hours to support an application for Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payment.
Q: What if I am a new service and I was not operating during the reference fortnight?
A: A new service will need to apply for a supplementary payment (see below). Unless the other criteria for a supplementary payment are met, the payment a new service would receive is the lower of 50% of fee revenue or 50% of the hourly rate cap for the enrolments during the period of operation.
Additional Financial Viability Assistance
JobKeepers payments are designed to assist services pay staff, and for Educators (as sole Traders) to maintain their income. Both services and Educators may be eligible for JobKeeper payments. For additional support for small businesses and sole traders go to: treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses
Q: Who can apply for JobKeeper?
A: Both services and Educators may be eligible for JobKeeper payments. Services and Educators are encouraged to register for JobKeeper. Educators must register independently from their service.
Q: How much is the JobKeeper payment?
A: Eligible services will receive $1,500 per fortnight for each staff member who meets the eligibility criteria. This is to assist with staff wages. Eligible Educators will receive $1,500 per fortnight to boost their income.
Q: Where do I register for JobKeeper?
A: For more information and to apply for the JobKeeper payment please visit: ato.gov.au
Q: What if the Educator does not have an ABN?
A: If the Educator has not obtained an ABN prior to 12 March 2020 they will not be eligible for JobKeeper payments. Services may consider providing evidence of this to support their application for Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payment.
Q: I have questions that relate to JobKeeper suitability, who can I contact?
A: Your best contact is the CCS Helpdesk via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 667 276
Q: When will JobKeeper be paid?
A: The first week in May.
EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES SUPPLEMENTARY PAYMENT
Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payment is considered a ‘top up’ in addition to the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package, already being paid to services. Before applying, services are encouraged to consider what they are already receiving, including JobKeeper payments, to determine if they can already remain viable without additional help.
Q: Who can apply for Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payment?
A: The service provider.
Q: Where do services apply for Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payments?
A: The form is available at dese.gov.au/covid-19/childhood
Q: What advice is there for completing the application?
A: Services are encouraged to take care to ensure the application is completed correctly and adequate evidence is provided.
- Include: Name, Service Provider Number, Customer Reference Number (CRN) and PRODA ID.
- Evidence of increased attendances, including the number of ‘at risk’ children attending.
Q: What if my service had reduced number of care hours during the reference week?
A: Services can apply for Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payment. Services should ensure they include evidence to support the application including information about attendances (this can be gained from your third-party software):
- Attended hours
- Services MUST redact or black out personal information about parents or children, reference numbers, DOBs, names etc, on the copy provided to the Department.
- Services MUST keep a complete (non redacted) copy for their records.
Q: What if my income goes up due to receiving additional financial assistance?
A: Providers must tell the department if their income goes up due to receiving extra state or government assistance. Please provide details regarding this additional support to ECECreliefpackage@dese.gov.au Ensure you note the relevant application ID number in the email subject header.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: Is the Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant (CCCF) still available?
A: No. Grant applications closed on 2 April 2020.
Q: What happens if I have already applied under the Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant?
A: Applications that were received on or before 9am on 3 April 2020 are being considered. The outcomes for these applications will be announced as soon as possible.
Q: Can school age children attend FDC if their family choose to use FDC rather than not send them to school?
A: Yes, however, Educators receiving funding under the new package must not provide formal schooling during this care period.
Q: Are all children eligible under the ECE Relief Package?
A: Yes. Services need to prioritise access to care for children of essential workers, vulnerable or disadvantaged children and all other children who were previously enrolled.
Q: What about unimmunised children?
A: For all care types, except In Home Care, families with children who do not meet the CCS immunisation requirements can attend child care services being supported by payments under the Package, where permitted to do so under state or territory regulations. These children must be enrolled under a Relevant Arrangement or Organisational Arrangement.
Q: What should services do if families withdraw enrolments?
A: Providers should encourage families who have withdrawn from their service to re-enrol. By families staying enrolled, they will keep their Child Care Subsidy eligibility so the subsidies will flow again once the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payments cease.
Q: What if children are absent?
A: Absences will not be counted during the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package period (commencing 6 April 2020) as session reports will not be submitted.
Q: What if the Educator has recently commenced (after the reference fortnight) and prior to obtaining an ABN by 12 March 2020?
A: The service gather evidence to support the application and could apply for Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary Payment.
Q: Should services engage new Educators?
A: This is an individual service decision.
Where to find current and accurate information
24/7 National Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080
Family Day Care Association Queensland has compiled a comprehensive list of information, links and resources to assist families. We encourage parents and Educators to review the following resources to ensure you are up to date on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic: