National Child Care Management System
The Australian Government will invest $73.2 million to develop a national Child Care Management System (CCMS) to provide the best information on child care supply, usage and demand data that has ever been available in Australia for families, services and the Government.
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, announced the investment, as foreshadowed in the recent Budget, while officially opening the redeveloped Brisbane City Child Care.
"The Australian Government recognises the need for a system to better meet the needs of families and the government, and further support approved child care services to reduce red tape," Mr Brough said.
"The new management system will utilise the latest technologies to ensure every dollar of funding for child care supports a quality place for parents and their children.
"The system will bring all approved child care providers on-line to standardise and simplify Child Care Benefit (CCB) administration including the capability to lodge CCB data electronically and reduce the time of CCB payments.
"It will also allow services to focus on providing quality care and enable families to access an online monthly statement facility outlining their child care records, including Government’s financial contribution to families through CCB.
"Importantly, the system will enable the Government to better track demand, supply and usage of child care and will improve efficiency and accountability across the sector. It will complement the compliance strategy announced earlier this year and provide more data about the child care market than has ever been available."
Mr Brough said that as the system changes are quite significant, there will be an ongoing consultation process with the sector including participation of key groups within a standing reference committee as the system is developed and implemented.
"In the coming weeks we will be releasing more technical detail for services and their software providers through a consultation paper supported by a series of forums," Mr Brough said.
"While some of the sector has quite sophisticated IT systems, we know that some providers have very limited IT support. As a result, there will be targeted and modest assistance for some services to upgrade their in-house systems to connect with the national system.
"The Australian Government will also provide training and support arrangements to ensure the transition to the new system is as seamless as possible."
The CCMS will be implemented in stages, commencing with the Long Day Care and Family Day Care sector. The hardware and software build is expected to take up to 12 months from now and the Government will work with child care services and software providers to set up a limited pilot in the second half of 2007. The broader roll out of the system will take place from early 2008. It is anticipated that it will take a further 12 months to bring the nation’s 10,000 child care services on-line, subject to the considerations of the provider reference group.
"This investment, on top of the $10 billion in Australian Government funding which supports parents’ child care choices, is further demonstration of the Government’s commitment to quality child care and prudent financial management of taxpayer dollars," Mr Brough said