Woronora Heights Community Preschool families benefit from early childhood educator Big Fat Smile's childcare subsidy attendance blocks

Savings: Sutherland Shire parent Donna Morrison benefits from paying for the hours her son Nate actually attends preschool.
Savings: Sutherland Shire parent Donna Morrison benefits from paying for the hours her son Nate actually attends preschool.

Early childhood education provider Big Fat Smile is giving Sutherland Shire families more affordable options in childcare payments. 

It recently launched an initiative for its Woronora Heights Community Preschool at Sutherland called Attendance Blocks, which is designed to give parents more flexible options so they achieve the most benefit from their Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

Currently, families can access subsidy for up to 100 hours of care per fortnight.

Some long day care services use the centre’s operating hours as the framework for the subsidy, rather than how many hours a child actually attends.

As a result, the out-of-pocket costs for affected families have increased.

Last month, former Education Minister Simon Birmingham, said there were isolated cases with some parents of children attending long day care centres being charged more under the new CCS.

Gymea mum Donna Morrison, whose son attends the preschool, says the initiative has saved her family money and given her greater flexibility.

“Our son attends preschool five days a week. Following the introduction of the new CCS, while our cost of care decreased slightly, it was not the saving I had estimated due to the long operating hours of the centre,” she said.

“Now that we have taken up the blocks, our childcare costs have been reduced by $150 per fortnight.”

Big Fat Smile chief executive, Jenni Hutchins, says the blocks enable families to tailor their need for care within individual circumstances, and in turn, they avoid exceeding their eligible hours that can lead to a reduction of out-of-pocket costs.

Big Fat Smile is offering three block options including nine hours, ten hours and a full day across its Child Care Subsidy-eligible centres.

By choosing a shorter attendance block, families can make the most of their eligible Child Care Subsidy hours, using only the number of hours in their selected block. It can start at any time within the centre’s operating hours of business.

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