The Government’s National Child Development Program (NCDP) has been under the spotlight in recent weeks for funding child development centers.
The $8 million is a major investment in the North Point development center in South Australia, and it comes as the Government is facing pressure from unions and child development advocates for better child care and childcare.
The North Point center is an expansion of the Northpoint childcare network, which is run by the Centre for Family Studies (CFS), which is funded by the Australian Government.
The Centre for Children and Families (CCF), which has a budget of $1.2 million, is also funded by federal government money.
The NCDP has been the subject of intense scrutiny from the union movement and child welfare advocates, and the Government has been in a state of limbo over its funding.
Now, the Government will have to answer for the role it played in the funding of the NCDP.
A leaked document obtained by the ABC shows that a series of meetings took place between the Government and CFS, and they have agreed to a funding arrangement for the NCPD.
This includes $2.3 million for the NorthPoint childcare network and $1 million for a research and developmental center.
The proposed funding arrangement also includes funding for a centre dedicated to child care for children between five and 18 years of age.
This funding arrangement has been described as “in-kind support”, and will be “paid for in the same way as other state and local child development funding”.
The NCDP is funded from the Commonwealth’s Child Care Tax Benefit, which has been increasing over the last few years.
The North Point childcare network is managed by the CFS and is funded through a $1,000 grant from the Australian Department of Human Services.
This grant is intended to help NCDP and CFT staff provide child care to disadvantaged families, which includes working with the National Child Safety Partnership (NCSP) to train child care providers.
North Point is a complex project and the funding arrangements that have been agreed for the childcare network have not yet been approved by the Government.
However, a spokesman for the Minister for Children said that the funding arrangement was in place “to support the NCDSP and the NCFP [North Point Children’s Centre].”
The spokesperson also said that North Point was “one of our highest priority projects”.
It is important to note that the childcare funding arrangement is not a return on investment for the CFT, and as a result, it is not an investment in child care, as the NCSP’s website states.
According to the CFP, it spends $1 billion a year in child support payments to families, and about $8 billion of this money is earmarked for child care.
“The money allocated to North Point is part of the total funding allocated to child development programs across the state, which represents a significant proportion of the State Government’s total child support and family support payments,” the spokesperson said.
CFS president Ian Young said that this funding arrangement with the NCCPD “is about creating a better child development program, and provides for a greater number of opportunities for the parents involved to have those opportunities”.
“While we’re happy that we will be able to support the children of North Point, we are also concerned about the impact this funding agreement has on families, their children and their carers,” Mr Young said.
“We would like to see the Government address the issue of how the NCP can ensure it is providing the best care for all children, not just those with disabilities.”
The Government will be asked to justify its role in funding North Point Child Development, and whether the NCNP will be allowed to continue funding child care services in other regions of the state.
Child advocates are urging the Government to explain the role that it played and the nature of the funding agreement.
This report was written by Sarah Kinsley, senior policy analyst at Families First.
It is not endorsed by Family First.