As part of the Jobs for Families Child Care Package announced in the 2016-17 Federal Budget, the Australian Government has established a Child Care Safety Net.
A key component of the Child Care Safety Net is the $550 million Inclusion Support Program (ISP). The ISP commenced on 1 July 2016, following the closure of the Inclusion and Professional Support Program (IPSP) on 30 June 2016.
The ISP assists early childhood and child care (ECCC) services to include children with additional needs by providing tailored inclusion advice and support from contracted inclusion agencies, as well as funding to support more challenging inclusion barriers.
Under the ISP, seven Inclusion Agencies (IAs) and one Inclusion Development Fund (IDF) Manager have been contracted by the department to deliver nationally consistent inclusion support services.
There is one IA for each jurisdiction, with New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory being serviced by a single IA. IAs assist eligible early childhood and child care services (ECCC services) in their respective jurisdictions to build their capacity and capability to provide and embed inclusive practice and address barriers to inclusion experienced by children with additional needs.
Inclusion Development Fund Manager
The IDF Manager provides nationally consistent and equitable management of the IDF through assessing applications for funding and communicating outcomes to services.
Inclusion Support Programme Guidelines
The ISP Guidelines contain information for ECCC services and other stakeholders about the programme’s objectives, types of support available under the ISP and how to access it.
In March 2017, the ISP Guidelines were updated to provide minor clarifications and corrections identified since the program’s implementation from 1 July 2016.
The department has developed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents to provide clarification for services about the intentions of the ISP Guidelines around accessing various elements of the program. Note these FAQs may be amended at any time during the program period to provide clarity on the program.
- FAQ: IDF Innovative Solutions Support
- FAQ: IS Portal
- FAQ: IDF Family Day Care Top Up
- FAQ: Change of Service Ownership
- FAQ: Documentary Evidence
- FAQ Compliance Program
Inclusion Support Portal
The new Inclusion Support (IS) Portal is a user-friendly, simplified web-based application to facilitate ECCC services' interaction with the ISP. It provides step-by-step guidance for services to complete an online Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP) and access funding available through all streams of the Inclusion Development Fund. The Overview of the Strategic Inclusion Plan provides information and guidance on how to complete a SIP.
Importantly, there are key requirements ECCC services must undertake before they are granted access to the new IS Portal, including obtaining an AUSkey. For further information about these requirements please read Service Communication – Inclusion Support Programme – Access to the new IS Portal for services which is available on the IPSP Transition page for child care services.
An ISP User Guide is available to provide additional guidance to ECCC services, IAs and the IDF Manager about ISP and the IS Portal which supports the program’s delivery.
The second release of the User Guide includes information about roles and responsibilities, the IS Portal, the SIP and the IDF.
The User Guide will be updated from time to time to respond to and reflect issues identified during the implementation of the ISP.
The Permission to share personal information for the purposes of ISP can be downloaded as required. This form is submitted by services where parent consent is required for various streams of the Inclusion Development Fund (IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator, IDF Subsidy for Immediate/Time Limited Support and IDF FDC Top Up).
Information relating to the closure of IPSP and transition to the Inclusion Support Programme is available on the IPSP Transition page.