Yes, there’s a lot to think about when preparing to enrol your child at Brookfield Early Childhood Centre. This list of frequently asked questions may help. If you have more queries, or would like to speak to us, feel free to visit our service.
Will my child be given priority for child care services?
Where demand for child care is high, Brookfield Early Childhood Centre must adhere with Priority of Access Guidelines to ensure there is a fair child care system.
The system ensures that, where there are vacancies or a waiting list, places are allocated to families with the greatest need for child care.
What assistance can I get to help pay for the cost of child care?
The Australian Government provides financial assistance to eligible families to help with the cost of placing children in early childhood education and care.
The main types of financial assistance families may be eligible for are:
Can I get Child Care Benefit?
As Child Care Benefit is income tested, it is hard to answer yes or no to this question, without knowing your specific circumstances.
The Department of Human Services has an Online Estimator which can estimate, based on your specific details, the benefit you could receive. This tool also provides information on eligibility criteria for Child Care Benefit (CCB).
For a family with one child the combined family income needs to be less than $152,147 to receive CCB. If your combined income is more than this you may still be eligible for Child Care Rebate (as the rebate is not income tested). To receive the Child Care Rebate you need to be registered for CCB (even if your entitlement for CCB is zero due to your income).
Can I get the Child Care Rebate and how is it paid?
If you are eligible to receive Child Care Benefit (CCB) (even at a zero rate), using approved child care (such as Brookfield Early Childhood Centre) and meeting the work/ training/ study test, you may be eligible to receive Child Care Rebate (CCR). More information on eligibility can be found on the MyChild website.
CCR is NOT income tested and pays up to 50% of your out of pocket expenses up to a limit of $7500 per child per income year.
There are four ways to receive your CCR:
- Paid fortnightly direct to your (CCB approved) child care service. You pay reduced fees
- Fortnightly payment to your bank account
- Quarterly payment to your bank account
- Annual payment to your bank account
Specific conditions apply regarding the payment of CCR if you receive CCB. More information can be found in the Child Care Fact Sheets.
How do I apply for the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR)?
You can apply for the Child Care Benefit (CCB) in person or online through Centrelink. To apply online, visit the Department of Human Services website. They will process your application and assess your eligibility for CCB.
You may notice that sometimes to ‘apply’ is also called ‘make a claim’. There is no need for you to apply for the Child Care Rebate (CCR) as there is no separate application or claim form for CCR. The Department of Human Services will automatically assess your eligibility for the rebate once you have applied for CCB. If your income is too high for CCB, you may still be able to get CCR. The Child Care Benefit is based on family income, the Child Care Rebate is not income tested.
You and your child will receive a Customer Reference Number (CRN) as soon as a record is created by the Department of Human Services. These numbers are important and will need to be provided to Brookfield Early Childhood Centre to ensure that CCB is applied to your fees account.
How much Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate will I get?
The amount of Child Care Benefit (CCB) or Child Care Rebate (CCR) you receive will depend on your circumstances.
The Department of Human Services website provides Online Estimators which allows you to estimate payments, based on your current or proposed circumstances.
You can use the Rate Estimator to get an estimate of how much financial assistance you could receive from the Australian Government for the cost of child care. It provides an estimated dollar value of CCB and CCR entitlements, as well as out-of-pocket care costs.
To use the Child Care Estimator, you will need to know:
- the type of CCB approved child care being used, including session (e.g. daily or hourly rate)
- the cost of your child care fees
- your estimated annual income
How do absent days work?
Child Care Benefit is paid for up to 42 Allowable absences each financial year. If more than 42 allowable absences are recorded then Childcare Benefit will cease to be paid until the new financial year. Parents will then be required to pay the full fees. The Child Care Benefit regulations have a provision for Approved absences. These differ from allowable absences. An approved absence needs supporting documentation from Parents that adhere to Child Care Benefit guidelines. There is no limit on approved absences each financial year.
When will I get my Account Statement?
Account statements are issued on the first Monday of each month. These statements will include any payment activity and daily charges for attendance and reflect Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate paid to the Service. Parents should check their statements carefully each month and refer any problems immediately to the Director. Parents are responsible for checking the CCB/ CCR components which appear on their statement. Please note that all bookings must be paid for regardless of attendance.
Am I eligible for holidays while my child attends Brookfield Early Childhood Centre?
All care is classed as booked care. Again, this means that all booked care must be paid for even if your child does not attend on that day. This includes holidays. Brookfield Early Childhood Centre has two exceptions. As we close for the period between Christmas and New Year no fees are payable for that time. In addition, each child is entitled to two care weeks of holidays per calendar year at half fees. Please note the enrolment must be of 6 months duration before there is any entitlement to holidays. These 'half-fee' care days are conditional upon on the Director receiving written notification 2 weeks in advance. Please obtain the 'Holiday' form from the Director.
What is a Security Deposit?
The Service requires a security deposit at the time of confirmation of your child’s enrolment. The security deposit is equal to two weeks fees, and is due when the completed enrolment forms are provided to the Service. This security deposit is fully refundable when your child’s enrolment ceases. The security deposit will not be used in lieu of unpaid fees, however you may wish to use your security deposit in lieu of 2 weeks written notice or as your final two weeks fees when enrolment ceases. In all other cases your security deposit willbe refunded by cheque and sent to your mailing address.
What will happen if I am late to collect my child?
The Service is licensed to open at 7am and close at 6pm. It is a breach of the terms of our licence to care for children prior to 7am and after 6pm. Our late fee has been designed to deter parents from placing the Service’s Licence at risk and encroaching upon educator’s personal time. Families who are late will be charged a late fee of $30 for the first 15 minutes or part thereof and then $5 per minute until their child/children are collected.
Are we charged for Public holidays?
We do not charge for public holidays if a public holiday falls upon one of your booked care days.
Are there any extra curricula activities offered at Brookfield Early Childhood Centre?
Throughout the year, Brookfield Early Childhood Centre arranges a variety of incursions for your children to enjoy. Signs will be placed around the Service prior to the show dates to make Parents aware of their cost. Brookfield Early Childhood Centre also has a range of programs that are offered within our hours of operation at an additional cost. Children will only be charged for these if they are been enrolled to participate in them.
Is there any extra assistance for my child with additional needs?
If your child has a disability or is from a culturally and linguistically diverse, humanitarian intervention, refugee or Indigenous background, Brookfield Early Childhood Centre may be eligible for extra assistance through the Inclusion Support Program.
What is the procedure if my child is absent due to illness?
We ask that you notify Brookfield Early Childhood Centre as soon as possible if your child is going to be away. If your child was suffering from a contagious illness, it will be necessary to provide a doctor's certificate of clearance upon his/her return to the Service. You must also record on the sign in sheet that your child was absent due to illness.
Can the Service give my child his/her prescribed medicine?
If your child has prescribed medications, you must complete a medication form located at the back of the sign-in folders on top of the lockers in each room. No medication will be administered to children if it is not in the correct container , in date, and clearly labelled with the child’s name and dosage.
What is the Early Years Learning Framework?
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) describes the principles, practices and outcomes essential to young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. It's part of the Australian Government’s National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. The framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning, recognising the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. There are five learning outcomes defined by the EYLF:
- Children have a strong sense of identity.
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world.
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.
- Children are confident and involved learners.
- Children are effective communicators.
Where can I find more information about the National Quality Framework and National Quality Standards?
Information about the National Quality Framework and National Quality Standards is available on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority website.
How does the National Quality Standard rating system work?
Services are rated across seven quality areas encompassing the centre as a whole. These are:
- QA1 - Educational program and practice
- QA2 - Children’s health and safety
- QA3 - Physical environment
- QA4 - Staffing arrangements
- QA5 - Relationships with children
- QA6 - Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- QA7 - Leadership and service management
Services are assessed on a number of elements under each quality area. Scores from each quality area are combined to give the service a rating in one of the following categories:
- Excellent - Indicates that a service demonstrates excellence and is recognised as a sector leader
- Exceeding National Quality Standard - Indicates that a service is exceeding the National Quality Standard
- Meeting National Quality Standard - Indicates that a service is meeting the National Quality Standard
- Working Towards National Quality Standard - Indicates that a service is working towards meeting the National Quality Standard
- Significant Improvement Required - Indicates that a service is not meeting the National Quality Standard and the regulator is working closely with the service to immediately improve its quality (otherwise the service’s approval to operate will be withdrawn)
Why is the National Quality Standards assessment process important?
The assessment process is an opportunity to gain external feedback on where a service has strengths and where they have opportunities for improvement. This enables families to be informed and involved in the ongoing improvement to the quality of the services
What is a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)?
An important part of the standards is the requirement for services to develop ongoing Quality Improvement Plans (QIP). The aim of a QIP is to help services to self-assess their performance in delivering quality education and care and to plan future improvements. The QIP also helps the regulatory authorities with their assessment of the service. A QIP helps providers to document the strengths of their services and to recognise areas for improvement.
What is a kindergarten program?
A kindergarten program is a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a qualified teacher in the year before commencing full time schooling.