The Australian Government funded Inclusion Support Programme (ISP) assists early childhood and child care services to include children with additional needs by providing tailored inclusion advice and support from state-wide Inclusion Agencies. The ISP also provides funding to address inclusion barriers and specialist equipment where required so that all children are able to participate meaningfully and experience a true sense of belonging within the program.

Support available through the ISP for eligible services includes:

  • Support from an Inclusion Agency (IA)
    • IAs employ skilled inclusion consultants who provide free tailored support to eligible ECCC services to address inclusion barriers and develop their inclusion capacity and capability.
  • Specialist Equipment Library (SEL)
    • The service can borrow equipment to facilitate and support the inclusion of a child with additional needs. The Inclusion Agency can assist the service to access equipment through the Specialist Equipment Library.
  • Funding from the Inclusion Development Fund (IDF)
    • Services can access funding to address a barrier to inclusion that cannot be resolved through support from an Inclusion Agency or the Specialist Equipment Library.

Eligibility

Eligible Services

ECCC services eligible for support through the ISP are:

  • CCB approved LDC, OSHC (including Vacation Care) and FDC services
  • Occasional Care Services
  • Mobile services
  • Budget Based Funded (BBF) Program services

Children with additional needs

These include (but are not limited to):

  • Children with a disability
  • Children undergoing assessment for disability
  • Children from culturally and linguistically backgrounds
  • Children from a refugee and humanitarian background
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Inclusion Development Fund (IDF)

There are four streams of funding available to assist services.

  • IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator
  • IDF Subsidy for Immediate/Time Limited Support
  • IDF Subsidy – Family Day Care Top Up
  • IDF Innovative Solutions
Each stream has different eligibility criteria, application processes and approved funding purposes. The IA assists the service to identify the most suitable funding stream. All applications for funding are assessed by the IDF Manager.

What does this mean for my child?

Centre-based services

If your child has additional needs, your service may consider increasing the number of educators for some of the time your child attends. An additional educator may be required for:

  • A time limited period to settle your child into the care environment; or
  • For a longer period.

The additional educator works as a member of the team of educators to provide a quality inclusive programme for all children, they are not funded to provide one to one support for an individual child.

Family Day Care (FDC) services

If an educator includes a child with additional needs requiring significant additional support, and the educator is unable to enrol the maximum number of children allowed under National Law, they may be eligible for a FDC Top Up payment.

Things to consider

Each of the (IDF) funding streams has a specific purpose with a different eligibility criteria and application process. Your service and the Inclusion Agency will determine the most suitable funding stream based on the services’ needs.

To support an IDF application, you may need to sign a Department of Education and Training ‘Parent/Guardian Consent to Share Information’ form and provide documentary evidence for your child that meets the requirements in the ISP Guidelines.

Eligible documentation can include the child’s Health Care Card with the code ‘CD’, or documentation to show the child is a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant. Other forms of documentation may also be accepted.

Your service will advise you whether you need to provide any documentation.

Ways the IDF subsidy can be utilised

  • To increase the educator to child ratio to support inclusion of all children in centre-based care services for a short or longer term period; or
  • To provide a fee top up payment to FDC educators who cannot enrol the maximum number of children due to the impact of including a child with significant high support needs.

Ways the IDF subsidy cannot be used:

  • For one to one support
  • For respite care
  • To provide therapy or early intervention supports
  • When children are being funded to participate in state funded preschool or kindergarten programs
  • To provide medical/nursing assistance