Introduction to ISS

The Inclusion Support Program (ISP) is a key component of the government’s Child Care Safety Net, which commenced in July 2016, as an early element of the Child Care Package, introduced in 2018.

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The program provides support for eligible mainstream ECEC services  to build their capacity and capability to include children with additional needs, alongside their typically developing peers, so all children have genuine opportunities to access, participate and achieve positive learning outcomes as per the Approved Learning Frameworks (EYLF, Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and My Time, Our Place - Framework for School Age Care in Australia).

The program also assists services to implement a quality, inclusive and equitable practice under the National Quality Framework (NQF) and in accordance with the National Quality Standard (NQS) and Approved Learning Frameworks.

Inclusion Agencies

The department currently funds seven Inclusion Agencies across eight states and territories (‘jurisdictions’) to work with eligible ECEC services in their jurisdiction to build their capacity and capability to provide and embed inclusive practice and address barriers to inclusion experienced by children with additional needs.

Purpose

Inclusion Agencies establish a network of inclusion professionals to provide tailored support to services in their jurisdiction, to ensure the inclusion of children with additional needs through capacity and capability building. Inclusion Agencies work with services to create solutions that address barriers to inclusion. This support must be appropriate and reflect the demographics and needs of the services and children within the service and may include:

  • site visits to services to consider, examine and review care environments and existing inclusion capability and assist with reflective practice to support children’s learning consistent with the EYLF and other Approved Learning Frameworks
  • practical advice and strategies on effective and quality inclusive practice, including techniques for improvement and solutions to address particular barriers
  • assistance to develop and/or review a Strategic Inclusion Plan
  • support to access the Inclusion Support Portal to complete a Strategic Inclusion Plan 
  • reviewing and endorsing (or non-endorsement of) applications for support under the Inclusion Development Fund

Contact

There is a national Inclusion Development Fund Manager and 7 Inclusion agencies. Contact your local Inclusion Agency to learn more about the Inclusion Support Program.

State/Territory Organisation Email Address Phone Number
ACT/NSW KU Children’s Services [email protected] 1800 703 382
Northern Territory Early Childhood Australia NT Branch [email protected] 1800 959 995
Queensland KU Children’s Services [email protected] 1800 811 039
South Australia Gowrie SA [email protected] 1800 129 606
Tasmania Lady Gowrie Tasmania Inc. [email protected] 1800 647 718
Victoria Community Child Care [email protected] 1800 177 017
Western Australia Communicare Inc. [email protected] 1800 119 247
Program Payments

Claiming the Inclusion Development Fund

Services receive payment for the IDF Subsidy for Immediate/Time-Limited Support and the IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator by submitting claims for the number of hours the Additional Educator was employed, up to the maximum weekly approved hours on the approved Inclusion Development Fund case. Claims are also based on the number of hours the child (or children) attended, except where non face-to-face hours are claimed.

Claims for the IDF Subsidy for Immediate/Time-Limited Support and the IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator require services to:

  • identify the Additional Educator
  • outline the hours the Additional Educator attended the care environment
  • provide details of the eligible child (or children) in the care environment, including their enrolment and attendance records.

Claims are made retrospectively via Office or through the Inclusion Support Portal.

The service must submit claims within 60 days of the fortnight the child listed on the approved case attended the service. If the service does not submit any claims for more than 60 days during the approved period, the Inclusion Development Fund case will automatically be deactivated and new claims cannot be submitted. Cases can be reactivated by the Inclusion Development Fund Manager.

The service must also retain relevant evidence of the eligible child (or children) on the Inclusion Development Fund case and the Additional Educator.

Non Face to Face (F2F) Hours

Where a child is absent from the service, the educator funded by the IDF Subsidy for Immediate/ Time-Limited support or the IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator should receive appropriate notice in line with award (or Enterprise Agreement) provisions. The service is able to claim the subsidy for a limited number of hours during its approval period, where the child is absent but the Additional Educator attends the care environment.

Once the service has exceeded this number of hours in its approval period, it will not receive any further subsidy for further hours that the child is absent from the service (and where applicable the educator funded by the IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator attends).

Application

Care type

Non face-to-face hours limit (of total IDF case hours)

IDF Subsidy for Immediate/Time-Limited

All service types

10%

IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator

Centre-Based Day Care

4%

Outside School Hours Care

5%

Vacation Care

17%

Payment of the IDF

The Inclusion Development Fund payment is paid directly to the service, from the department, to the same payee details it has nominated to receive its Child Care Subsidy payments on behalf of families.

Following a successfully executed claim, the service will typically receive payment within 4-6 business days, depending on the banking institution to which it is affiliated.