Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government further enhances support for children with additional needs

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced the preferred providers for the new Inclusion Support Agencies (ISA) across Australia which would enable eligible child care providers to expand their services to include children with special needs.

“There will be 67 agencies which will be responsible for coordinating better access for children to services within their region,” Senator Patterson said.

“Each Agency will engage and manage a network of skilled facilitators to work at a local level with child care providers to help children with special needs, including children with disabilities and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Central to the new program is having more field workers on the ground to assist services, families and children

“The inclusion support will be delivered with flexibility by the ISA, enabling it to be responsive to local needs, it will also assist child care centres to access specialist equipment to help include children with high support needs in mainstream child care centres.

“I recently announced the preferred providers for the Professional Support Coordinators (PSC) in each State and Territory.

“Both initiatives are part of the Australian Government’s $75 million Professional Support and Inclusion Program providing a fully integrated approach to meeting the professional and specialist needs of child care services.

“The establishment of these 67 agencies is a significant investment in the child care sector and ultimately benefits all Australian families, providing an important first step towards achieving a positive early childhood experience,” Senator Patterson said.