Free access to early education for refugee children in NSW pilot program

Child asylum seekers will be provided with access to early childhood education in a new pilot program in the Canterbury and Bankstown area of NSW.

The children of asylum-seeker families are not eligible for the Child Care Subsidy, and are less likely to be able to access early education due to the high cost.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Canterbury Bankstown Council will provide free access to early education, for one day a week, to the children of asylum seekers at the Punchbowl Children’s Centre, Carrington Occasional Care and Lakemba Children’s Centre.

“It is vitally important children attend these early childhood services to develop their skills, including learning English, and to give them a good start to succeed in life,” Mayor Khal Asfour was quoted as saying.

Access to early childhood education in Australia requires navigating one of the most complex systems of funding and eligibility in the developed world. For families arriving in Australia seeking asylum, their bridging-visa status means they are ineligible to claim any subsidy. Daily fees in many areas of NSW can be in excess of $150 a day.

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