2 Jun 2011

Debate over $80m subsidy for home-based childcare

9:18 pm on 2 June 2011

Businesses providing at-home care for under-fives are defending themselves from criticism by the Government's early childhood taskforce.

In a report published on Wednesday, the taskforce says it is unacceptable that the services are funded as if they are run by teachers, even though most of the caregivers are not registered teachers. That can mean up to 80 children involved with only one qualified teacher.

Leaders in the sector say their staff have qualifications, but they are not recognised for teacher registration.

They say the Ministry of Education should review the qualifications needed for early childhood education in homes, especially for those working with children aged under three.

The Government's early childhood education taskforce says the level of public funding for many home-based care services is unacceptable.

The chair of the taskforce, Dr Michael Mintrom, says home-based organisations should be given time to get their house in order, but the work needs to start soon. He says the services should improve their quality in the next two years or lose their funding.

Home-based services received more than $80 million in government subsidies in the past financial year.