SNAICC says “far more is needed” in wake of CCS changes, proposes specific funding program for First Nations services
SNAICC, the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, has released a statement in which it welcomes the Australian Government’s recent announcement to increase investment in ECEC but highlighted “far more is needed” and called for a funding program with a focus on holistic early education and family support services that are culturally safe.
SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle said, “We welcome the announcement of increased support for our families after such a difficult period. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families’ health and wellbeing, with additional stress from economic hardship.”
“However, the changes will do little to address many of the barriers to accessing early education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families – far more is needed.”
Ms Liddle appeared on ABC’s RN Breakfast with Fran Kelly to discuss the topic in more detail. To access the recording click here.
The proposed CCS changes, which have been targeted at two broad cohorts of families, those with more than one child attending an early childhood education and care service and those that are earning more than $189,390 per year, are due to come into effect in July 2021.
Ms Liddle added that “One of those barriers is the activity test required for people to access early childhood education and care. The test continues to exclude children by limiting hours of subsidised access to early education when parents and carers do not meet minimum work or study requirements.”
“The current child care funding model is a one-size fits all approach, and doesn’t do enough for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families that may be experiencing vulnerability.”
“The result is that our children are not accessing the early childhood education and care that will support their development and help ensure they grow up strong in their culture and identity.”
SNAICC calls for a specific funding program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled services with a focus on holistic early education and family support services that are culturally safe.
In addition, SNAICC continues to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to have access to at least 30 hours per week of 95% subsidised early childhood education and care and notes this new investment fails to address these critical priorities.
“If we want to truly close the gap in outcomes for our children, then it is time that our national policies ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have every opportunity to learn and be supported in their early years.” Ms Liddle said.