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Feedback sought on how to improve critical child care program

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19 June 2011

Feedback sought on how to improve critical child care program

The Australian Government wants public discussion and ideas on one of its key early childhood programs that aims to raise the inclusiveness and quality of child care.

Minister for Child Care, Kate Ellis released a new discussion paper, ‘The future of the Inclusion and Professional Support Program (IPSP) for child care services’, when speaking at the Childcare Queensland National Conference in Caloundra today.

Ms Ellis said that the IPSP provides funding to more than 5000 child care services across Australia to help make child care more inclusive.

“This important program subsidises the cost of additional early childhood educators that children with a disability or children from non-English-speaking backgrounds or Indigenous children can have a positive early childhood experience alongside their more typically developing peers,” she said.

“The program also provides child care services and educators with access to professional training and development so that they are better equipped to deliver the support and programs these children need.”

IPSP has been running since 2005 and child care services using the program were surveyed last year to get their feedback on how the program was running. Child care services reported that the program was a critical one that

is highly effective in improving their inclusiveness and staff’s professional approach to support children with particular needs.

“This program is working well and delivering great benefits to children and their families but there are always ways that we can improve and do better - that is what this discussion paper is all about,” Ms Ellis said.

“The Government is committed to continuing this vital support to give every Australian child a better chance of accessing high-quality child care no matter where they live and no matter what their background.”

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, welcomed the release of the discussion paper which will explore the needs of young children with disability and their families and the barriers they face within the child care sector.

“As part of the National Disability Strategy, we are working to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians,” Senator McLucas said.

“All governments have agreed to work to reduce barriers and simplify access for people with disability to a high quality inclusive education system including early learning, child care, school and further education.”

Developed through the Council of Australian Governments, the National Disability Strategy sets out a ten-year national reform plan to improve the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.

The discussion paper is available on the department’s website

Feedback on the discussion paper is due to the department by 3 pm Monday 11 July 2011.

Minister Ellis’ media contact: Jamila Rizvi 0438 644 603 DEEWR Media: Non-media enquiries: 1300 363 079