COVID-19 Family Information

  • IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT –
    TRANSITION FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION & CARE RELIEF PACKAGE TO CHILD CARE SUBSIDY
    Deadline 12 July I Updated 8 June 2020

    The Australian Government has confirmed the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package will be extended until 12 July 2020.

    From 13 July 2020, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) will recommence with the introduction of a number of new measures to support providers and families through this period.

    For more information, please visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

    Roadmap to Easing Restrictions

     

    Quick Guides

    The following Enhance Family Day Care Quick Guide details a breakdown of:

    • The transition from the Early Childhood Education & Care Relief Package to CSS
    • What’s happening over the next month
    • What you need to do and when

    We advise families to download and print out the June/July Quick Guide to keep on top of transition deadlines and requirements.

    Transition to CCS Quick Guide – June/July 2020

     

    Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package (ECECRP) FAQs
    (Updated 20 May 2020)

    Question 1 – What is the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

    The ECECRP was implemented by the Australian Government on 6 April 2020 to ensure children have ongoing access to early childhood education and care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECEC Relief Package replaces payments from the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) system and provides free child care to all families currently receiving child care.

    Question 2 – I have heard that “free childcare” is ending on 28 June 2020. Is this true? 

    A review of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package is currently being undertaken. As such, no announcements about whether the relief package will continue post-June 28 have been made by either the Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison, nor the Education Minister, Mr Dan Tehan.

    We understand there are media reports suggesting the relief package will not continue past this date. We will provide an update on the latest information from the government as soon as it comes to hand.

    Question 3 – I recently started using child care. What do I need to do about CCS when free childcare ends?

    In response to COVID-19, child care has been made free. This means Centrelink is not currently paying Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

    If you were getting CCS before 6 April 2020, you won’t need to do anything for it to start again when the free child care period ends.

    If you started using child care after 6 April 2020, we recommend you visit the Services Australia website for more information.

    Question 4 – How is my Educator being paid?

    Under the ECECRP, Educator fees are covered by a combination of JobKeeper and relief package payments. Educators will be compensated for actual hours of care delivered at their rate or the cap rate. We have implemented a safety net so Educators are able to remain open and earn an income if their actual hours of care drop during this period. Our administration of the ECECRP supports our principles, that Educators should be paid at their usual rates for any care delivered.

    Question 5 – Can I provide my Educator with gift cards or a top up payment?

    Unfortunately, no. For your Educator to receive payments under the ECECRP they must not apply any charges to families for child care fees or accept in-kind payments/donations from families. The combination of JobKeeper and ECECRP payments should mean that Educators are earning close to what they did prior to COVID-19. 

    Question 6 – Is my Educator allowed to charge me fees?

    If you were charged fees prior to 2 April 2020, which were not covered under CCS, then your Educator can still charge these fees. e.g. late fees. These fees must not be increased during this time. If you have any questions please contact your service. 

    Question 7 – Is it important to honour drop off and pick up times?

    Yes. We ask that all families respect the operating times of Educators and children are collected and dropped off at the negotiated times. Frequently collecting children later than the negotiated collection time may result in an adjustment and reduction of care hours. 

    Question 8 – Actual Booked Hours – Can I alter my booked hours with my Educator?

    Yes, you will need to discuss this with your Educator and complete a Booking Change Request Form (to be obtained from your Educator).

    Question 9 – What if I require additional hours from my Educator during this period?

    You will need to contact your Educator and service, in advance of the care dates. Your service will provide you and/or your Educator with a COVID-19 Hours of Care Request Form. This form is to be completed and signed by a parent/guardian, with the Educator, and then approved by the service, prior to additional care taking place.

    Question 10 – The government said that child care is free. How does this work?

    The ECECRP has been implemented so families who are working during the pandemic have access to child care and do not have to pay fees. It is the role of the service to deliver the ECECRP; Educator fees are covered by a combination of JobKeeper and ECECRP payments.

    Question 11 – Will my child’s hours of care be reduced?

    In limited circumstances, your service may need to reduce the hours of care you are provided in order to prioritise care to essential workers and vulnerable children. This is because there is a limited pool of funds available to pay for care. Any reduction of hours of care will be made in discussion with you, your Educator and the service. If you have any concerns please contact your service.  

    Question 12 – Do I still need to sign in and out and mark absences as usual?

    Yes, you are still required to sign in and out, recognising your child/children’s actual hours and absences. This will continue to remain a requirement under the ECECRP.

    Question 13 – Statement of Entitlements – Will I still receive a Statement of Advice from the service?

    Yes, you will receive a Statement of Entitlement, however, it will not indicate your fee. Whilst benefiting from the ECECRP, families are not charged fees.

    Question 14 – How do I contact the my Enhance office during this period? 

    Enhance Offices are currently open yet unattended. We are still operating and supporting our Educators as usual. You can continue to contact office staff via their dedicated email addresses and each service phone number remains active and will be answered by an Enhance Practice Mentor.

     

    COVID-19 FAQs

    We have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions for our families relating to attendance and communication. 

    Question 1 – Are early childhood education and care services open?

    Answer – As at 26 March 2020, most early childhood services and outside school hours care services are open as normal. A small number of services have temporarily closed at their discretion or on advice from Queensland Health. While we strongly encourage you to contact your service directly, the Department of Education emergency closure portal also provides information about early childhood education and care closures.

    Question 2 – Is it safe to attend early childhood and education services?

    Answer – The health of Queenslanders is our priority. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice is that pre-emptive closures are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time. AHPPC considers all childcare services essential. Services are advised to remain open at this time, but with risk mitigation measures in place.

    These should include:
    – exclusion of unwell staff, children and visitors
    – enhanced personal hygiene for children, staff and parents
    – full adherence to the NHMRC childcare cleaning guidelines
    – local excursions are no longer permitted 
    – influenza vaccination for children, staff and parents

    *Please visit the COVID-19 and service operation page on the department’s website for information, including links to health agencies.

    For any ECEC COVID-19 related enquiries please phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

     

    Important Phone Numbers

    Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080

    Health advice over the phone – 13 HEALTH / 13 432584

    If you have any questions regarding your child’s care or associated COVID-19 implications, please contact your Enhance FDC office.

     

    Resources – Updated 8 May 2020

    Enhance has compiled a comprehensive list of information, links and resources to assist families. We encourage parents to review the following resources to ensure you are up to date on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic:

    Raising Children – COVID-19 and children in Australia

    UNICEF Australia – How to talk to your children about COVID-19

    Autism Association of Western Australia – Social Stories

    SBS Insight – 8 tips on what to tell your kids about coronavirus

    Coronavirus and Kids: Resources from Save the Children (USA)

    Zero to Three – COVID-19 Tips for Families (USA)

    COVID-19 multi-lingual resources

    Queensland Health

    Download the official government Coronavirus Australia app in the Apple App Store or Google Play

    Australian Government Fact Sheet