Preschool will become more affordable for children in low-income families following a $115 million funding boost from the NSW Government. Announced today, the additional funding will mean services can reduce their fees, removing affordability barriers for many families.
The 1 in 7 Children in Poverty campaign highlighted quality early education as an essential circuit-breaker, with too many of our most disadvantaged children missing out. Children's services have long been concerned about the underinvestment in early learning in NSW and have been working hard, along with fellow NCOSS members and stakeholders to ensure all children have access to the best start in life.
As part of the funding package, preschools will be required to pass on at least 75 per cent of additional funding to parents in the form of reduced fees. Children from low-income and vulnerable backgrounds will continue to attract a higher rate of subsidy, but funding levels will now also be linked to the number of hours for which a child is enrolled. This will create an incentive for services to enrol children for at least 600 hours per year – the target set by the Commonwealth under the National Partnership Agreement.
Access to early education in rural and regional areas will improve, with the introduction of a Safety Net for small services that struggle to remain viable.
As part of the funding package, additional funding is also being directed to Long Day Care to reduce fees for families on low incomes.
Well done to all our members and stakeholders who have worked so hard to see these changes.