Inclusion Support Program
What is the Inclusion Support Program?
The aim of the Australian Government funded Inclusion Support Program is to remove the barriers to accessing child care that may be experienced by children with a disability, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, and Indigenous children. The Inclusion Support Program assists child care services with a range of practical supports, including advice, planning and resources, so that they are better able to provide all children with the opportunities to participate in activities that encourage learning and development within relationships with peers and adults and in a manner that reflects the interests and strengths of all children inclusive of physical, cultural and linguistic diversity.
In practices this means that it supports childcare facilities to provide quality inclusive child care environments that
- provide welcoming, accessible and engaging environments that are responsive to all children and their families including those with additional needs (like Autism)
- use flexible programming approaches that are responsive to individual strengths, interests and needs
- build on and develop the strengths of the child care community (child, family, educators and community)
- work in partnership with families and respect their cultural values, needs and circumstances
- are well supported through networking with other relevant services and supports
As part of this support childcare agencies have access to Inclusion Support Agencies (ISAs) that are are responsible for the provision of support to child care services that includes practical advice and access to a range of supports designed to strengthen the service‘s ability to create a quality care environment inclusive of all children. These supports include, but are not limited to, providing onsite assistance with developing Service Support Plans, facilitating access to Specialist Equipment provider, General Resources Library, professional support, funding through Flexible Support Funding or Inclusion Support Subsidy, and Bicultural Support.
Inclusion Support Subsidy
What is the Inclusion Support Subsidy?
The Inclusion Support Subsidy (ISS) is paid to child care services to support the inclusion of a child or children with ongoing high support needs. The ISS is a contribution towards the costs associated with employing an additional child care worker. In Family Day Care and In Home Care the ISS can also be used as a payment in recognition of the impact on the carer of the additional care and attention required by children with ongoing high support needs. The ISS is limited to a flat hourly rate, which is determined by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and is indexed annually.
Children with ongoing high support needs include those with a diagnosed disability, children undergoing continuing assessment for a disability and humanitarian refugee children. So in practice this means if you have a diagnosis of Autism or are in the process of getting a diagnosis your childcare provider can access this subsidy.
Since 1 January 2009, the Inclusion Support Subsidy has been administered nationally by KU Children‘s Services, the National Inclusion Support Subsidy Provider.
What does this mean in practice for my child?
If your child has ongoing high support needs and attends a centre based child care service then the service may decide that an Additional Educator is needed for some of the time that your child attends.
In Family Day Care or In Home Care ISS provides an additional payment to the carer in recognition of the additional care and attention required to include a child with ongoing high support needs.
How is the Inclusion Support Subsidy Used?
ISS is money paid to your child care service to assist them to employ an Additional Educator for the room your child is in to increase the staff to child ratio. Having an Additional Educator for the busiest times of the day can help make sure that the environment is inclusive for all the children as Additional Educators are employed to work with all the children in the room, not just your child.
ISS can also be applied for by Family Day Care and In Home Care Services. This ISS money is paid to the carer to acknowledge the extra work involved in caring for children with ongoing high support needs and the impact this has on the carer and care environment.
What as a parent do you need to do to assist in the Application for the Inclusion Support Subsidy?
To support an ISS Application, your child care service will be required to provide current evidence (dated within the last 12 months) that your child has ongoing high support needs. If a child has a diagnosed permanent disability, documentary evidence which provides confirmation of the child’s diagnosis
may be sufficient (this does not have to be dated within the last 12 months). Your service will be responsible for completing the application and you will just need to provide them documentation to assist.
What evidence should you provide?
If your child has a diagnosed disability, evidence may
- A qualified medical practitioner’s confirmation of diagnosis
- The results of an assessment by a registered psychologist
- Evidence of a diagnosis provided by an Allied Health Professional (Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists etc), Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner
- Any diagnosis documentation from
- Centrelink documentation stating your eligibility for Carers Allowance with respect to your child
- Your child’s Health Care Card stating the code (CD)
If your child is undergoing continuous assessment,
evidence may include:
- An appointment letter for an assessment by a medical practitioner
- Supporting documentation or diagnostic report signed by a qualified medical practitioner or registered psychologist
- Report or supporting documentation signed by an Allied Health Professional, Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner
What happens when/if the application is successful?
Your service will be notified that ISS has been approved for up to 12 months. If your service still requires additional support after the initial approval period they may talk to you about making a Renewal Application.
For more information visit the KU Children‘s Services Inclusion Support Website.
We have been … or I should say our child care service has been utlising the Inclusion Support Subsidy for just over 12 months now. This has been unbelievable valuable. LittleMan’s aide (and friend) is just wonderful. She has done and continues to do great work to help him participate in the childcare community. For me I think it is really important for him to have time to socialise with children his own age and have opportunities to generalise skills he is learning in therapy. This he gets thanks to the support of his aide for 2 days a week at childcare. For me this program is instrumental in his overall care/therapy program.