Extra funding for playgroups to give kids a better start
Children with disability will get extra benefits from playgroup activities as a result of $600,000 funding the Gillard Government is providing to Playgroups Australia.
The Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin today joined the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas and the Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh at the Scullin Jellybeans Playgroup in Canberra to celebrate National Playgroups Week with local children and their families.
Ms Macklin said the new Better Start Playgroup Community Events initiative will fund 72 community events in metropolitan and regional areas across the country over the next three years.
“We want all children to get the best possible start in life so they can grow up to be happy, healthy adults,” Ms Macklin said.
“These community events will be available for all families, so children with different skills and abilities can interact and learn together.
“The community events will also help families develop social networks, and connect children with disability to local support services.”
Senator McLucas said the new funding built on the Government’s Better Start for Children with Disability initiative, which has helped more than 6000 children with disability access more than 80,000 early intervention services since July 2011.
“Better Start gives parents the financial assistance they need to access services that can make a real difference in their children’s lives,” Senator McLucas said.
“We know that investing in early intervention for children with disabilities before they get to school gives them the best chance of reaching their full potential.
“That’s why playgroups are so valuable. They are a great opportunity for kids to learn through play and develop social, cognitive and physical skills.”
Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh said the theme for this year’s National Playgroup Week is Able to Play, which highlights the importance of all children having access to play and learning activities.
“Playgroups are a great place for kids to start their development, and the Jellybeans Playgroup here in Scullin is no exception,” Mr Leigh said.
“I encourage all families with young children to get along to an event in their community to celebrate National Playgroups Week.”
Ms Macklin said the Government was taking a big step this week toward peace of mind for people with disability, their families and carers with the passage of the NDIS Bill through Parliament.
“In another step that this care and support is about to become real for Australians with disability and their families, we now have a name for the National Disability Insurance Scheme – ‘DisabilityCare Australia’.
“The name has been chosen based on consultations with people with disability, their families and carers, peak organisations and the general public.
“DisabilityCare Australia reflects the principles of the NDIS – that all Australians with significant or profound disability receive the care and support they need, regardless of how they acquired that disability.”
The Australian Government provides more than $3.7 million each year to organisations across the country for free or low-cost community playgroups.
This investment is part of the Government’s $1 billion Family Support Program, which provides vital support services to families and children.
For more information on playgroups and National Playgroups Week visit http://www.playgroupaustralia.com.au/
For more information on Better Start visit www.fahcsia.gov.au/betterstart