Grants available for NSW services to offer 4 year old health checks
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Grants available for NSW services to offer 4 year old health checks

Grants available for NSW services to offer 4 year old health checks

by Freya Lucas

February 15, 2024

Early childhood education and care providers are being encouraged to apply for grants to help them offer free health and development checks to four-year-olds.


The NSW Department of Education and NSW Health are working together to deliver the opt-in Health and Development Checks in Early Childhood Education (HDC) Program, which has made the checks accessible to all four-year-olds attending participating services, including public preschools, community preschools and long-day care centres.


Nearly half (44 per cent) of NSW children are not developmentally on track when they start school, according to the most recent Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data, with a similar number of children not having their recommended health and development check prior to starting school. 


The NSW Department of Education has contributed over $4 million to its new HDC Participation Grant Program, which aims to support eligible services so they can more easily access the HDC program.


Eligible services participating in the HDC program in 2024 can apply for grant funding in up to three of the following categories, with up to $7,500 in total funds available.


  1. Staffing to support the health and development checks program, for example, providing relief for educators and teachers to take time off the floor to complete pre-assessment questionnaires, or support children during the check.
  2. Developing a suitable space for the health and development checks, for example, repurposing or refurbishing rooms or spaces within the service.
  3. Building capacity to support children’s health and development after the check, for example, attending workshops or completing training.


The HDC program is an investment that includes health professionals from local health districts working with early childhood services to book in the checks and identify support they may need before school.


They include an assessment of children’s health and development such as their cognitive development, social and emotional development, speech and communication skills, gross and fine motor skills and how their bodies are growing.


The HDC program also aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developmentally on track in all five of the AEDC domains to 55 per cent by 2031, in line with Closing the Gap target four.


Services can check their eligibility for the grant by visiting the department’s website and can apply through SmartyGrants. Applications will close March 31, 2024.

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