The Inclusion Support Program (ISP) provides assistance for eligible child care services to address barriers to inclusion.
Eligible services can access Inclusion Development Fund (IDF) support (Section 4.1).
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About the Inclusion Development Fund Subsidy
The Inclusion Development Fund (IDF) Subsidy can be claimed when:
- the child (or children) in the IDF Subsidy approval are in attendance
- the additional support is required in the care environment to address the barriers to inclusion, and
- the service has employed the Additional Educator in the care environment as an extra educator, above the educator-to-child ratio requirements for the ages of children attending, as per the National Regulations.
You can find the hours per week that are IDF Subsidy approved for the care environment in the IDF Approval Letter.
The service must submit claims within 60 days of the fortnight that the eligible child, or children, listed on the approved IDF case attended the service.
Note: A capped number of non-face-to-face hours are available on each IDF Subsidy approval. Non-face-to-face hours allow the service to claim IDF where the child has not attended but the Additional Educator is in attendance in the care environment.
Where a child is absent from the service, the additional educator who is funded by the IDF Subsidy should receive appropriate notice in line with award or enterprise agreement provisions.
How to submit claims
When submitting claims, services must:
- 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 information.
Note: this does not include when non-face-to-face hours are claimed.
For more information refer to the Claiming IDF Subsidy fact sheet.
Evidence required to verify claims
Services must retain relevant evidence of the eligible child (or children) and the Additional Educator on the IDF case. This may include:
- evidence of the child (or children’s) attendance, such as sign-in and sign-out sheet with parent signature, and
- additional educator attendance, such as signed time sheets.
Note: The service must meet all reasonable requests from the Inclusion Development Fund Manager (IDFM) or us to verify the claims made, as outlined in the Conditions of Funding.
Monitoring of claims
We monitor the claiming patterns of services and investigate any anomalies.
We also access attendance records of services and reconcile those with reported children’s attendance from parent surveys.
When attendance numbers are low
A service can only continue to employ an Additional Educator and claim IDF Subsidy when the following applies:
- this additional support is required in the care environment to address the barriers to inclusion and implement the actions required to address the barriers, as outlined in the Strategic Inclusion Plan, and
- the service continues to employ the Additional Educator in the care environment as an extra educator above the educator-to-child ratio requirements for the ages of children attending, as per the National Regulations. The Additional Educator works as a member of the team with all children and is employed in addition to the educators already employed by the service.
For further advice about claiming IDF Subsidy, please refer to the Claiming IDF Subsidy fact sheet.
Please contact your Inclusion Professional (IP) or the IDFM for advice in relation to your particular circumstances, where required.
Services are required to maintain and provide relevant evidence pertaining to the use of funding to the IDFM and us, in accordance with the Conditions of Funding.
Change of circumstances
If the IDF Subsidy case is inactive or withdrawn
If a service has not submitted a successful claim for more than 60 consecutive days during the approval period, the IDF case will be automatically inactivated and new claims cannot be submitted.
Please email the IDFM at email@example.com in the first instance. This email must contain the case ID, the reason that IDF was not claimed within the 60-day timeframe, and confirmation that IDF is still required for all weekly approved hours as stated in the Approval Letter.
Combining care environments
There may be a circumstance where IDF is claimed for one care environment but due to declining enrolments and attendance, care environments will be combined.
If the change is due to COVID-19, services can continue to claim IDF which is approved for one care environment.
The service is not required to submit a Change of Circumstances application. The service should email the Inclusion Agency and the IDFM to advise of these arrangements. In most instances, email advice will suffice without the need to submit a Change of Circumstances application.
Child not attending
Non-attendance due to COVID-19
If the child included in an Additional Educator or FDC Top Up approval does not attend the service, the status of the case may change to inactive. A service cannot claim IDF Subsidy for the period a child is not in attendance.
The service should review the IDF Subsidy approval period outlined in the Approval Letter to be aware of the approval end date.
If the child is absent for more than 60 days and returns to the service, the service can email the IDFM to request reactivation of the IDF Subsidy approval.
The service will be able to claim IDF in line with the approval, including approval period start and end dates, and the Conditions of Funding.
If a service has a current IDF Subsidy approval, that approval can be reactivated by the IDFM when the service reopens.
Check the approval end date of the current IDF Subsidy approval. If the service reopens once the approval period has ended, contact your IP for support with submitting a renewal application.
Immediate/Time Limited support
If a child has ceased attending a service due to COVID-19 but they are expected to return, please email the IDFM to notify them of this situation. The start and end date can be adjusted, if this additional support is required at a later date.
When the child returns, please notify the IDFM via email and the end date of this Immediate/Time-Limited case can be adjusted to enable the service to claim the remaining approved funded weeks.
Note: the number of funded weeks which the service can claim in the funded period remain as stated in the Approval Letter.
Renewal of applications
Child not attending due to the risk to their health
If IDF Subsidy for an additional educator is not needed in a care environment due to children not attending, or other reasons related to COVID-19, the service is not required to submit a renewal application.
The service can submit an application at a later time when this additional support is required.
In the case that attendance numbers are low because of the impacts of COVID-19, services should discuss their current need for an additional educator with the IP.
The service and the IP need to discuss the strategies and actions outlined in the Strategic Inclusion Plan to determine if an increased educator-to-child ratio is needed to address the barriers to inclusion.
If an increased educator-to-child ratio is not required, the service should not submit the application but wait to review the need for this support and apply in the future when this support is required.
For more information on ISP including IDF Subsidy , visit our website.