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Labor outlines pilot projects for more flexible child care

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Federal Child Care Minister Kate Ellis has announced several new projects designed to find new and better ways to build a more flexible child care system for Australian families.

New models of weekend and school holiday care, helping low income families and a far-reaching study looking at best practice are among the projects that are part of the $720,000 Child Care Flexibility Fund which opened for applications earlier this year.

It includes a grant of $179,000 to Early Childhood Australia to explore ways to provide greater child care flexibility through a national scoping project, while the Salvation Army in Brisbane’s south-eastern suburbs will receive $250,000 to pilot alternative ways of supporting low income families through customising child care with other support services.

Ellis said leading peak body Early Childhood Australia’s sweeping study into best practice examples of more flexible care would be a valuable resource for the entire sector when completed.

“This will be undertaken by experts to promote efficient ways of providing child care when it is needed for working families with busy schedules,” she said. “Priority will be given to examples that have the most potential to be replicated elsewhere for further analysis.”

The Salvation Army’s trial would focus on child care and other supports for low income families facing different challenges in their lives.

“It will cover a range of different services that help these families including an approach that customises child care with other support services such as emergency food and accommodation support,” Ellis said.

She added that a re-elected Rudd Labor Government would watch the range of new ideas and approaches with interest, and if viable and worthwhile, would look at programs to apply them more broadly.

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