Start Strong 2024: Little Zak’s Government-funded Fee Relief for Long Daycare

Want to enrol your 4-year-old in childcare this year but worried about the fees? Well, here’s some good news. If you have a child aged 4 or over attending long daycare in 2024, you may be eligible for some significant fee relief on top of any existing Child Care Subsidy you receive. The government’s 2024 Start Strong for Long Daycare program is making early childhood education more affordable for preschool-aged children. Read on to discover more about the Start Strong program and whether or not your child is eligible.

What’s the purpose of the program?

Research has shown that children who have access to 600 hours per year of high-quality early childhood education during their preschool years experience better educational outcomes in the long term. With this in mind, the purpose of the 2024 Start Strong for Long Daycare program is to make preschool education more affordable for families, so that more children have access to the best possible start to their education. What this means for families is that the cost of childcare will be significantly lower once your child is 4 years old, as long as the child and the centre they attend both meet the eligibility requirements.

Who is eligible?

In order for your child to be eligible for the fee relief they will need to be:

  • Age eligibility:
    • To be eligible for 4YO+ Program Payment and 4YO+ Fee Relief Payment funding under Start Strong, a child will need to be the age of 4 years old on, or before, 31 July 2024 (the child’s birthdate must be on, or before, 31 July 2020)
    • To be eligible for 3YO Program Trial Payment and 3YO Fee Relief Trial Payment funding under Start Strong, a child will need to be the age of 3 years old and not yet 4 years old on, or before 31 July in 2024 (the child’s birthdate must be on, or between, 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021)
  • attending an eligible early childhood education program;
  • listed on CCSS; and
  • not yet in compulsory schooling.

Eligible early childcare centres must be listed on the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS), and regulated under the National Quality Framework. They must also meet a number of criteria relating to the educational program being delivered to children aged 4 years and over. Most Little Zak’s centres are fully eligible for the 2024 Start Strong for Long Daycare program. Not only do we deliver high-quality early childhood education for children aged 0-6, we also have a dedicated Prep School program that has been expertly developed to prepare children for their first year of formal schooling. Our innovative program uses a creative and modern approach to early childhood education in order to build the skills and confidence children need to excel in their new school environment.

How much funding are you entitled to?

The program consists of two separate arms of funding, with one payment going to the childcare provider to fund their service and one payment going to families in the form of fee relief. Families are entitled to $2,110 of fee relief per enrolment for eligible children aged 4 and above, and up to $500 per year in fee relief for children aged 3 in 2024. This payment is in addition to any Child Care Subsidy you already receive and will be offered to families in the form of a reduction to your weekly fees. Depending on how many weeks per year your child attends childcare, this could equate to a reduction of over $40 per week in childcare fees. For many families, this saving may make the difference between being able to afford high quality early childhood education for their pre-schooler, or not.

At Little Zak’s, we believe every child deserves to have the best possible start to their education.  Research has shown that attending a high-quality early education program for the two years prior to starting kindergarten at big school is the best way to achieve this goal. We are excited to be able to offer eligible families reduced fees for our outstanding Prep School program and look forward to welcoming a new cohort of preschoolers into our centres in 2024. If you’d like to learn more about the 2024 Start Strong for Long Daycare program, or if you’d like to discuss enrolling your child in the Prep School program at one of our centres, contact us today.