Free outside school hours childcare for all

3 Apr, 2020

Enrol your children for free in our Rainbow Region Kids Vacation Club now

Just yesterday the Australian Government announced their Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package.

As part of this package, access to all outside school hours child care will be free.

This includes access to our very own Rainbow Region Kids outside school hours services, including before school care, after school care and vacation care services.

To try and answer some of the confusion around what this package means for parents and kids, here are some simple frequently asked questions (courtesy of Jobs Australia):

  • Is childcare free only for parents working essential jobs? The scheme is for all families who use early learning childcare centres. It does not matter what your profession is or your current employment status. The government has asked childcare centres that priority be given to working parents, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and parents with pre-existing enrolments.
  • I’m a working parent, but I’m working from home. Does it apply to me? Yes, if you cannot care for your child or children safely at home, you will be placed higher on the priority list. Jobs have not been ranked in order of critical need by the government.
  • I pulled my child out of care recently based on medical advice, but have still been paying fees to keep their spot. Am I eligible to a refund? The government has allowed childcare centres to waive gap fees for families who keep their children home. Additionally, you’ll be given access to use 20 extra absence days the government has funded to help keep enrolments in childcare centres. March 23 is the date where backdating will take place from.
  • I cancelled my child’s enrolment earlier this year because I didn’t want to be paying fees for a service I wasn’t using. Can I sign them back up? Yes, you can. The Minister for Education Dan Tehan actively encouraged parents who recently unenrolled their children to contact their childcare centre and re-start their enrolment. This applies to parents who unenrolled their children between February 17 and now. If you unenrolled earlier, you can still access free child care but you will likely be placed lower on the priority list.
  • If I re-start my child’s enrolment, does that mean I have to start sending them back? No, you don’t have to send them back. Keeping your children at home if you can is ok to do so. If you intend to use childcare once this whole pandemic has blown over, then it’s a very good idea to re-enrol them now. It will effectively hold your child’s place at the centre and you will not have to pay a gap fee.
  • I have never enrolled my child in an early learning centre, can I enrol them now? Yes. The scheme is available for all parents who need it. With no pre-existing arrangements, it’s likely your spot will be lower in priority than working parents, disadvantaged children and parents who had pre-existing arrangements.
  • Does this apply to pre-schools and after school care? The Morrison Government yesterday announced it will provide $453 million for preschools in 2021 to support almost 350,000 children to attend preschool. After school and out of school services will also be able to access the scheme.
  • Does the money come to me, or directly to the childcare centre? The money goes to your child’s centre and is 50 per cent of its revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap, based on the enrolment numbers before parents began pulling children out of centres. The funding will apply from April 6 and only childcare centres who remain open and who do not charge parents for care will be eligible. The payments will be paid instead of Child Care (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments.

Visit our Rainbow Region Kids page to read more about our outside school hours child care services. If you’re interested in enrolling your child in our Vacation Club, visit our news post here.

Visit the Australian Government website here to stay up to date with official news.

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