Today Labor announced a new program to extend before and after school care to more families who need it. The $450 million Better Schools: Before and After program will provide funding for up to 500 schools to offer:
- More places – in areas where parents need access to out of school hours care; and
- More flexible opening hours – before and after school and during school holidays;
- New, high quality activities and programs for children, such as sporting activities, music lessons and homework clubs.
Kimberly from QLD shared with us how important the program will be for her family and for working mums and dads across the country.
My name is Kimberly and I’m a working mum.
Without after school care I just couldn’t work. But many of us know the frustration of being told there’s simply no place available for your child. Where I live, most schools have long waiting lists for before and after school care. It’s easy for politicians to talk about supporting families, but it’s heartening to see practical action that reflects the challenges many families are facing in the real world today.
Here's to parties that understand we’re living in 2013, not 1953 – and working families need more flexible support before and after school. And here’s to winning this election, so we can make it happen!
Kimberly Hoover, QLD.
Want more info? Here’s the low-down:
How schools use this money will be up to them. Schools would be able to open their outside school care programs earlier or later – depending on the needs of parents. For example, services could open earlier, from 7.00 am, and stay open later, until 7.00 pm.
Schools could also apply for funding to improve the quality of the programs offered during outside school hours care. Grants of up to $200,000 will be available to, for example, employ program co-ordinators to run new activities – such as homework clubs, music lessons, or sports programs.
The Better Schools: Before and After initiative builds on the Labor Government’s support to help families with the cost of living, including:
- Introducing the Schoolkids Bonus;
- Boosting the child care rebate from 30 to 50 per cent, up to $7,500 a year;
- Introducing Australia’s first national paid parental leave scheme; and
- Delivering tax cuts for all working Australians earning up to $80,000 a year.
The 50 per cent Child Care Rebate still applies, up to $7,500 a year – along with the other child care assistance.
This policy has come about because more parents are looking for out of school hours care, and we all want to enrich the experience of children in these services so that they are getting the best start in life.
Funding for this program is already included in the budget.
What happens next is, subject to demand for implementation in the next school year, a Rudd Government will then look at rolling out an expanded program to cover all Outside School Hours Care sites over time.