ECEC Funding after COVID-19
The Front Project paper Realising the benefits of early childhood education and care: Funding after COVID-19 is an independent analysis of the possibilities for funding of ECEC.
It assesses how to best accelerate economic recovery, while ensuring children’s wellbeing and education, as we begin to move out of COVID-19 and into the future.
Our paper looks at different funding directions through a combination of two important measures:
- balancing key areas that are essential for successful reform
- evaluating the likelihood of achieving the outcomes we want to see.
Our funding recommendation is aspirational and pragmatic. It considers how to deliver the best outcomes for children, especially children experiencing disadvantage, as well as what our sector needs to sustain high quality services – such as more teachers and educators, access to learning resources and new infrastructure. The analysis is grounded in evidence, and reflects the changes we are experiencing.
The Front Project recommendation for ECEC funding
Immediate term – until October 2020 (or until the Federal Budget)
Maintain free or low-cost ECEC for all children as parents return to work, to provide a stable environment and enable services to respond to higher demand.
From October 2020
Amend the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to:
- be more responsive and flexible to changing demand
- improve access and affordability
- prioritise support for vulnerable children.
The Federal and State Governments should also work towards universal, teacher-led preschool in the two years before school.
Continue improvements to affordability and include two years of universal preschool. Integrate with community support services for families.
This recommendation has outcomes for children at the core and is feasible within budget pressures and sector limitations. It aims to make the most of the opportunities that ECEC provides to children, families and employers as we move out COVID-19, while building the foundations for a stronger future.