NCOSS: Children in NSW are “missing out”
CHILDREN in NSW are missing out on the best possible start in life as investment in early childhood education and care remains well behind other states, a new study has revealed.
The NSW Council of Social Services have spoken out regarding The Report on Government Services into child care, education and training.
NCOSS CEO Tracy Howe said high quality early childhood education and care enhances a child's developmental outcomes, and is especially beneficial for vulnerable children, yet access to this opportunity isn't available to all children.
"NSW has the lowest proportion of children attending preschool programs, with only 71.3% of children enrolled in the year before school," Ms Howe said.
"When we know the benefits of early childhood education and care this isn't good enough."
Ms Howe said she was concerned the low numbers of children attending early childhood education and care was due to the lack of affordability of these services.
"We are seeing many families miss out due to affordability. NSW has the most the most expensive services in Australia," she said.
"This isn't surprising when the NSW Government spends less on early childhood education and care services than any other State or Territory."
Real recurrent expenditure in NSW on early childhood education and care per child aged 0-12 years in the community was $202 per child compared with $347 per child in Victoria, $644 per child in SA and $683 per child in WA.
Ms Howe said this had been the case in NSW for some time now and it was time to start turning the trend around.
"1 in 7 children in NSW are experiencing poverty," Ms Howe said.
"In consultations with our members and stakeholders around the state, access to early childhood education and care was identified as a top priority for ensuring these children had the same opportunities in life as all children in NSW.
"But children in NSW continue to miss out."
Ms Howe said NCOSS was seeking an increase investment in early childhood education and care so that all children experience a quality early education from the age of three.
"We would like to see the NSW Government increase funding to $600 per child, bringing NSW into line with other States," she said.