ACT’s Communities@work welcomes CCS changes, notes vulnerable children and workforce concerns as key priorities
Communities@Work, Canberra’s largest provider of children’s services, has confirmed its support for the proposed changes to the Child Care Subsidy system announced by the Australian Government and also highlighted key additional priority areas such as supporting vulnerable children and the ongoing workforce shortage to focus on going forward.
Lee Maiden, CEO said, “Communities@Work supports all policies that help families and children access affordable, high-quality early education and care. We welcome the changes announced to the Child Care Subsidy system, which will remove some of the disincentives for participation in the workforce and provide many families – especially women – more opportunity to build their careers.”
However, Ms Maiden also highlighted that many low-income families and children will miss out on the benefits of this investment due largely to the targeted nature of the planned changes impacting only families with more than one child and families that earn over around $180,000 per annum.
“Children experiencing disadvantage are much less likely to attend Early Education and Care due to the costs,” Ms Maiden said, “For vulnerable children already experiencing disadvantage, the social, emotional, and economic benefits of quality early education and care are profound. Unfortunately for many vulnerable children and families, the Federal Government’s changes to the Child Care Subsidy will not help.”
“We would really like to see further simplification and improvement to the Child Care Subsidy system, with a special focus on reducing out of pocket expenses for low-income families with vulnerable children.”
Workforce crisis highlighted as key challenge, new demand adds more pressure
In addition, the statement highlighted the ongoing workforce challenges that are currently impacting the Early Childhood Education and Care sector with educator shortages impacting the ability of organisations to deliver ECEC services to their communities.
Kellie Stewart, Communities@Work’s Director of Children’s Services said, “It’s really unfortunate, but sometimes we simply cannot offer families a place in our service or we can’t offer all of the days their children require. We are continually recruiting and training new educators, but we are simply unable to keep up with demand.”
Ms Maiden added “We work hard to ensure we attract, train and retain the highest quality educators, and we strive to be an employer of choice, offering values-based employment, with meaningful and appealing employee benefits.”
Communities@work invests significantly in training and ongoing professional development through its Registered Training Organisation and have also established mentoring and coaching networks for educators, as well as received a number of awards including the Large Employer of the Year at the ACT Training Awards two years running.
“With this announcement, we anticipate more families will be wanting education and care, and to ensure we can meet this growing demand, we need further investment to support the ongoing training and professional development of educators.” Ms Maiden said.