Important information for Victoria regarding 2021 Free Kinder for LDC services
The Victorian Government has provided the following update, which relates to Long Day Care (LDC) services with respect to the treatment of Free Kinder Payments and the Child Care Subsidy.
The Commonwealth Government recently provided Victorian early childhood education and care (ECEC) services with advice on the application of Free Kinder payments in 2021. This advice details that the Victorian Government can contribute funding to reduce the out-of-pocket fees for families, without it impacting their Child Care Subsidy (CCS). The advice is available here.
As a result, families can receive the full benefit of up to the $2,000 Free Kinder payment in CCS funded long day care services.
Administration of Free Kinder payments
- Fee reductions for Free Kinder should be made regularly across the year to families’ bills, e.g. weekly, fortnightly or monthly. For example, this could be a monthly credit to families’ accounts or calculated based on how the kindergarten program is structured (e.g. applying a $50 per week fee offset for 40 weeks). Lump sum payments, e.g. for the whole year or a term should not be used.
- However the fee reduction is applied, the full $2,000 benefit must be provided for eligible children enrolled for the whole kindergarten year. If a family’s out of pocket costs are less than $2,000 across the year, the family should pay no fees and any surplus should be invested to support the kindergarten program.
- The fee reduction should be identified as ‘Victorian Free Kinder 2021 fee offset’ on families’ accounts, and it should be clear that the offset has been applied after the family’s CCS benefit.
- Free Kinder funding from the Department will work in the same way as normal kindergarten funding when children leave or commence at the service throughout the year.
Free Kinder payments to providers
- For the majority of services that have already opted in to Free Kinder, a payment equivalent to three months of Free Kinder funding (for January, February and March) should have been received last week.
- Payments for funded enrolments have been made based on each service’s pre-confirmed enrolments (i.e. last year’s enrolments numbers) and will be adjusted to reflect current enrolments following Annual Confirmation.
- From April recurring monthly payments will be provided through KIM for the remainder of the year, as per regular kindergarten funding.