Sydney Council provides free ECEC for children of asylum seekers

Sydney Council provides free ECEC for children of asylum seekers

by Freya Lucas

May 03, 2022

Sydney’s Inner West Council has unanimously resolved to provide free early education to children whose parents are awaiting asylum seeker determination. 


“While their cases are being assessed, asylum seekers can’t access early childhood subsidies,” Councillor Mat Howard, who moved the Motion, shared at a Council meeting. 


“Any Australian family would tell you that without those subsidies, early childhood education is simply unaffordable.


The Council pledge builds on an early education campaign by Sydney Alliance, Asylum Seekers Centre, Canterbury-Bankstown Council and Uniting has placed a number of families in preschools and childcare centres using unused places, Mr Howard explained.


“Now Inner West will join them, working with the Sydney Alliance, their partners Jesuit Refugee Service and House of Welcome, and the Asylum Seekers Centre.”


According to the Sydney Alliance, there are approximately 400 children of asylum seekers in NSW in need of childcare.


“Until their parent’s case is assessed, these children are missing out on the quality preschool experience that better prepares them for school,” Mr Howard said.


“Missing out leaves children developmentally vulnerable.”


“When you are seeking protection on a temporary visa the costs are a barrier to being able to have this opportunity. Initiatives like this one from the Inner West Council break down those barriers and send a message of welcome and acceptance to people seeking asylum,” said Asylum Seekers Centre CEO Frances Rush.