On 4 September 2019, Council endorsed the new Children’s Services Policy which will see continued support for childcare, kindergarten, toy libraries and playgroups in Port Phillip. The new policy will come into effect on 1 July 2020.

What is new in the policy?

  • new outreach service to support vulnerable children access children’s services
  • vulnerable families will get help to receive full entitlements under Federal government’s childcare subsidy
  • new grant targeted to vulnerable families to reduce the costs of childcare
  • more certainty for community-managed services with longer leases
  • improved information for families about the children’s services available in Port Phillip
  • better enrolment processes for childcare and kindergarten.
  • clearer and transparent funding agreements with community-run childcare, kindergartens, toy libraries and playgroups
  • stronger focus on helping children access natural environments

How did community feedback shape the final policy?

  • more support for families experiencing vulnerability
  • review of waitlist and enrolment processes for childcare and kindergarten
  • support to continue for toy libraries, playgroups, childcare and kindergarten
  • support for a network of service providers
  • removed requirement for minimum number of places at services
  • defined the use of the word contemporary to include buildings which meet National Quality Standard for quality area 3
  • removed recommendation to transition childcare assets to kindergartens
  • more emphasis on natural environments

Read more about how the community engagement influenced the final policy.

What’s next?

  • the new policy will come into effect in 1 July 2020.
  • Council will develop an implementation plan with the activities and timeframes to implement the policy.
  • a facilities strategy will be developed, in consultation with stakeholders, to ensure Council buildings that children’s services operate in can meet current and future demand, they are fit-for-purpose, compliant with legislation and provide access to natural environments and nature play.
  • a business case will look at the benefits and costs of continuing to run Council services and ensuring competitive neutrality or alternatively transitioning one or more of the four Council-run services to community organisations. As part of the business case for Council-run services, we will review costs and fees, identify opportunities for efficiencies and explore the opportunity to establish parent committees for greater parent involvement in the running of these centres. The business case will be complete by March 2020.

More information

Please read the Update below, read the the policy, key information or the the Council Report from the 4 September 2019 Council Meeting.

Background to the policy

The new policy is needed to respond to changes in legislation, a growing population, best practice in children’s services and ageing assets.

During the development of our new policy, we’ve been working closely with families, children and the early years sector to understand how we can collectively shape the future of childcare, kindergartens, playgroups and toy libraries in Port Phillip.

In 2018 we shared the challenges and opportunities involved with children’s services and asked for your ideas for improvement (Stage 1 community engagement). Your ideas informed the objectives in the new policy and then we developed policy recommendations to achieve those. We consulted on these draft policy recommendations in early 2019 (Stage 2 community engagement). You can read the findings of this consultation in the Stage 2 Community Engagement Report in the Key Documents section.