The latest news, views & reviews for Australia's child care industry March 19, 2013
child care industry news
The Commonwealth has announced it will fund pay increases for early childhood education and care workers. We also meet Occasional Child Care Australia President Jennine Blackburn who spills the beans on this most flexible form of child care.
Pay increase announced

Wage riseIn exciting news this morning the media is reporting that the Federal Government is allocating $300 million over two years to boost the salaries of early childhood education and care workers.

The Australian Financial Review is reporting that this will lead to a 15 per cent increase for educators (or around $3 per hour for Certificate III qualified staff with higher increases for more qualified staff).

Reports indicate that the Government will today announce the establishment of an early years quality fund to fund the pay increases and to support child care services as they implement the changes required under the NQF.

Speaking to The Australian, Childcare Minister Kate Ellis said:

"This fund will further promote our early childhood and child care priorities by making sure centres show a demonstrated commitment to affordability for families through fee restraint."

Full details haven't yet been released by the Government but as far as we understand the changes will take effect from 1 July 2013. Child care providers will need to apply to receive money under the fund and will have to be operating in accordance with the NQF qualification requirements…

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Mental health initiative
…delivers results for kids and carers

Mental HealthA pioneering national project that aims to build resilience in preschoolers and children in long day care and to reduce their risk of experiencing mental health problems has delivered significant results according to an evaluation by Flinders University.

The findings by Flinders University show that the KidsMatter Early Childhood initiative has improved the mental health and wellbeing of children, helped early childhood education staff better care for children and improved links with mental health professionals.

The two-year evaluation was conducted in the 105 childhood services across Australia where KidsMatter Early Childhood is operating, collecting data from over 1000 staff and 5000 parents.

Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler said KidsMatter Early Childhood promotes positive mental health by developing children's social and coping skills, providing parents with resources to support parenting, and helping parents and educators to respond effectively to children experiencing difficulties…

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Child care person in the spotlight
Jennine Blackburn – Miranda NSW
President – Occasional Child Care Australia Inc.

Jennine BlackburnChild care professionals share a commitment to improving society by creating dynamic and nurturing care environments for Australia's youngest learners. This month we feature an interview with Jennine Blackburn.

What is your name?

My name is Jennine Blackburn and I am aged 50.

Which centre do you work in? How many staff and children are in the centre?

I am the Nominated Supervisor of Wombat Occasional Childcare Inc. in Miranda (NSW). Wombat is a community based, non-profit organisation, licensed for 29 children from birth to five years.

We have a flexible license and care for up to 15 children from 0-2 years each day. There is a strong need for this age group in our area and we often have 15 babies (who come on an occasional basis, so it can be a little crazy -but lots of fun- at our centre). There are 11 educators, two kitchen hands and a bookkeeper and we all work on a permanent, part time basis.

I am also the President of Occasional Child Care Australia Inc. (OCCA). OCCA is a national association run by volunteers whose aim is to promote and advocate for occasional care centres Australia wide. I have been in this role for two years and prior to that I was Treasurer and on the general committee. I contacted OCCA seven years ago seeking advice and guidance in managing an occasional care centre and now I am the President…

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Did you know you can publicise your service's National Quality Standard rating before ACECQA starts publishing all available ratings in April/May this year… let us know.

This is a great opportunity to promote your service's achievements and Quality Improvement Plan.

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