FIT program offers more opportunities in NSW
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NSW Government’s $20 million program to boost flexibility for families

by Freya Lucas

April 11, 2024

The New South Wales Government has announced a $20 million program to boost access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) for families through flexible initiatives at service level. 


The Flexible Initiatives Trial (FIT) aims to address parents’ barriers to workforce participation, particularly for women, by supporting early childhood services to adapt their offerings and hours where a local community need is identified. 


Some of the initiatives proposed for Round 1 of the funding include: 


  • extending hours of operation beyond traditional working hours
  • providing flexible pick-up and drop-off times
  • giving families the ability to make occasional or ad hoc care arrangements
  • establishing new family day care services in rural and remote areas
  • partnerships between two different service types to provide extended or wraparound care.

“This trial is supporting existing services to expand their offerings and respond to the needs of their local communities,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said.

“This will look different in different areas across the state, with more flexibility and expanded offerings, which is a great outcome for parents and our youngest learners.”


16 services were successful in their applications for funding: 


  • Little Genius Cottage, Chifley 
  • Possum Early Childhood Centre, Hazelbrook
  • Nurture and Grow Early Learning Centre, Miranda
  • Dee Why Children’s Centre, Dee Why
  • Plumpton Long Day Care and Preschool, Plumpton
  • Tyndale Early Learning Centre, Blacktown
  • Diocese of Broken Bay Early Learning Centre, Forestville
  • Bundgeam Preschool, Kyogle
  • Bowral Street Childcare, Bowral
  • Denison Street Early Learning Centre, Tamworth
  • Menindee Children’s Centre, Menindee
  • Federal Community Children’s Centre, Federal
  • Yarm Gwanga Preschool and Early Education Centre, Armidale
  • Clarence Community Preschool, Grafton 
  • Yamba Early Learning Centre, Yamba


Along with a new family day care service, to be run by Bega Valley Family Day Care.


Plumpton Long Day Care & Preschool will use its funding to develop an integrated early intervention preschool program, and the number of licensed places is being increased by 10, in a unique program offering which will see a variety of specialists such as speech therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists offering appointments and support in centre. 


The FIT funding application came about in direct response to data drawn from the Australian Early Development Census, which showed a large number of children with additional needs in the Plumpton area, and from Director Christy OId’s observation of the changing needs of families. 


“Approximately 30 per cent of our enrolments are children with diagnosed additional needs,” she explained, “and there are a large number of children in our care who are currently on a journey of understanding and diagnosis in terms of having one or more additional needs.” 


“For these families there is often a complex choice between their own need or desire to work, or to have respite from the often challenging aspects of parenting a child who needs more support, and having to make themselves available to take their child to various therapies and appointments.” 


“Being able to offer this integrated early intervention preschool program is just one of the many ways in which we try to provide support to our families in a holistic and responsive way.”


Other successful applicants include Possum Early Childhood Centre in Hazelbrook who will be extending their operating hours by three hours each day, Clarence Community Preschool in Grafton who will begin offering services on Saturday and Sunday, and The Yarm Gwanga Preschool and Early Education Centre in Armidale, which will expand their service by 50 new places to provide University of New England staff, students and members of the public with increased work and study options.

For more information about the FIT please see here.  

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