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Childcare provision protected as part of welfare plan

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development & Employment and Youth Affairs

2 October 2011 Media Statement

Childcare provision protected as part of welfare plan

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced a $2.8 million boost to out of school care funding, supporting a focus on work not welfare.

“This Government is balancing greater work expectations on beneficiaries who have children, with greater support, including childcare.”

“We’re committed to removing barriers to work and providing adequate quality childcare is a vital part of that,” says Ms Bennett.

The Government is considering Welfare Working Group recommendations including the suggestion to urgently address childcare capacity issues.

The current capped funding of $17.7 million for Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) programmes has been spread increasingly thinly as the number of providers sharing the pool of funding has grown.

“If provider grants drop further, we risk losing capacity, which isn’t an option for this Government given our commitment to better support parents into work.”

“We want to retain that strong provision of childcare, but to do so we need to increase the funding so providers get a decent amount of assistance.”

New standards for OSCAR providers are also being introduced, reducing compliance while maintaining an emphasis on child safety.

“We’re halving the amount of red tape for providers, making it easier to focus on looking after kids, rather than ticking boxes,” says Ms Bennett.

Changes to standards include:
• Reducing the number of standards from 11 to six.
• Trusting providers more and monitoring compliance less
• Making it easier for new providers to establish
• Enabling home based-care

OSCAR programmes for 5 - 13 year olds which are before school, after school and during school holiday programmes are run by schools, private providers and community groups in community centres and churches.

The funding boost of $2.8 million will be spread across 2012/13.

The new standards will apply from 1 November 2011.

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