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Children & families

We consult with Victorian councils on issues related to early childhood education and care, services, funding and policies.

Through our forums, we communicate and consult with councils about our work in the early years area, and advocate local government perspectives to other sectors and levels of government.

To ensure a strong voice for local government and improved outcomes for families and children, we also collaborate with other organisations.

Our key areas of responsibility are:

MAV Capital Advocacy Plan

Thank you to all who provided information to the MAV through the early years capital survey. The survey indicates that Victorian councils invest over $2 billion in kindergarten and maternal and child health facilities, and are planning to continue investing.

The 60 councils who responded also foreshadowed that a further $260 million is needed to meet growth, and at least $30 million is needed to meet new ratio change requirements for 2016.

The average age of council facilities is 35 years; most councils advised that the costs to maintain ageing facilities is of major concern for their future capital works planning processes.

The information provided is enabling the MAV to work in partnership with the Victorian Government on a strategic approach to future capital funding and planning.

For further information, contact Jan Barrett.

New outdoor smoking bans for childcare centres, kinders and schools

​The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has written to all councils with details about implementation of new smoking bans proposed for entrances to childcare centres, kindergartens, schools, children’s indoor play centres, registered community health centres, and certain Victorian Government buildings.

Although the date for implementation of the new bans is still to be advised, DHHS is contacting affected organisations directly about the new requirements and the signage they will need to display.

Council assistance in distributing signage is being requested only in relation to children’s indoor play centres. An application process is available to councils to receive funding to support their implementation in communicating with children’s indoor play centre operators, and other education and enforcement activities.

Council environmental health units should already be aware of this information, as a series of training sessions are being arranged in coming weeks.

For further information, contact the Tobacco Control Section of DHHS.

MAV welcomes Productivity Commission recommendations on kindergarten funding

​The MAV has welcomed the recommendations for continued Commonwealth funding for 15 hours preschool, as outlined in the Productivity Commission  inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning, released in February 2015.

Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison has expressed the Commonwealth Government's intent to listen to the community as it formulates its response.

The report has recognised that universal access to preschool in the year before a child starts primary school is a key measure for ensuring successful learning and development in the early years. We particularly welcome the Commission’s recommendation that Federal Government funding for early childhood education and care should be combined and directed towards three priority areas, including the kindergarten universal access program.

We will further examine the broader recommendations related to early childhood education and care, follow up with the Government, and will keep councils informed of our advocacy progress.

For further information, contact Clare Hargreaves.

Meeting with Minister Mikakos

On February 13 the MAV had a very productive meeting with Minister for Families and Children and Youth Affairs, Jenny Mikakos, who offered to establish quarterly meetings going forward.

​Minister Mikakos indicated that she values the contribution councils make to the planning and provision of universal services, as well as the support provided to vulnerable children, families and young people.

In line with the State Government’s Call to Parties commitment, it was also agreed to align sector advocacy with the State to the Commonwealth around ongoing funding for 15 hours of kindergarten, and the priorities Victoria would like considered by the Federal Government in the forthcoming ’families package’.

Following further discussion with the Minister’s office, the MAV will provide materials to councils to progress the 15 hours campaign as soon as possible with Federal MPs.

Government response to Early Childhood Education and Care reports

​On 22 December 2014, the Australian Government released its response to two Senate Inquiry Reports into Early Childhood Education and Care.

The MAV notes that although the government has responded to these two inquiries, they have said they will consider reports and the recommendations in the context of the current Productivity Commission inquiry into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning.

Our response to the Productivity Commission inquiry formed the basis of our response to the Senate: Submission to Productivity Commission Draft Report into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning (Word - 155KB).

The PwC report Putting a value on early childhood education and care in Australia is also available for your reference.

For further information please contact Wendy Allan.

Reinstatement of occasional care

We welcome confirmation of the signing of a four-year funding deal between the Australian and State Government of $8.55 million to reinstate occasional care in Victoria.

Prioirity will be given to services in rural, regional and remote areas, and in areas with limited or no access to flexible early childhood education and care services. Municipalities with a high proportion of vulnerable families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and refugee or asylum seeker families will also be given priority.

Services can apply for funds to wrap around care for their kindergarten program. In addition, services offering three-year-old programs can apply.

Funding was withdrawn for this service (formerly known as Take–A-Break) at the end of 2011 despite a concerted campaign by the MAV, families and other peak bodies. The funding was a 2013 election commitment of the current Commonwealth Government.

For further information, contact Rose Stewart from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Councils wishing to discuss occasional care models can contact MAV's Wendy Allan or Jan Barrett.

Local government support for children, young people and families

This 2011 report documents the contribution made by Local Government in helping families to raise their children, and assisting young people to make their own way in the world.

Read: Local government support for children, young people and families (Word - 318KB).