Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

$1.4 million for early childhood services across Australia

Twenty-four early childhood services across Australia will be boosted to provide parental advice on the availability of other social support services with the help of $1.4 million in Howard Government funding.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced an extension of funding to 30 June 2006 for 24 Child Care Links projects, eight of which are in South Australia.

“This additional funding will provide children aged up to five years, and their parents or caregivers in communities experiencing social disadvantage, with improved access to community services,” Senator Patterson said.

“As part of the Child Care Links initiative, a worker is funded at each of the 24 child care services to facilitate the development of networks and linkages between the families using the child care services and other family and children’s services.

“The workers promote existing opportunities as well as develop new community services in response to identified unmet need.

“These projects aim to increase parents’ knowledge and understanding of services, facilities, information and available supports within their community while promoting the importance of early childhood development and care.

“Extending funding for the projects through to 30 June 2006 will allow the projects to fulfil their purpose of engaging the community and building on community capacity.

“The Howard Government is committed to providing families and communities with further access to services that help parents build on the skills they need to bring up their children,” Senator Patterson said.

An evaluation of the Child Care Links initiative is currently being undertaken with a final report due in October 2005.