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Navigating Queensland’s “Free Kindy” program with Our Free Calculator

At Kidsoft, we’re committed to simplifying the Early Learning landscape for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Services and families across Australia.  

The Free Kindy program introduced by the Queensland Government is nothing short of fantastic. This initiative ensures that every child in Queensland has the opportunity to access quality early childhood education, setting the stage for a bright and promising future. However whilst this initiative is brilliant, the details can be a little complex, especially when children attend kindy within long daycare centres. The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) adds another layer of intricacy, as it varies from one family to the next. In essence, when a child participates in a kindergarten program within a long daycare setting, families may need to cover the cost of care before and after the kindy program. Determining the precise amount of this cost can be a challenging task.

To support the wider ECEC sector, Kidsoft with the support of the Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA QLD) has invested significant effort and expertise in creating an easy-to-use calculator. This tool is the culmination of extensive work, aimed at empowering long daycare services to determine the gap fee for each child within their kindergarten program once “Free Kindy” takes effect. Our commitment to simplifying this process underscores our dedication to the sector, ensuring both services and families can navigate the transition with clarity and ease.

We believe in giving back and assisting the sector whenever we can. That’s why we’re offering this calculator alongside ACA Qld free of charge to the Queensland Government, and all ECEC services throughout Queensland.

If you’re an ECEC service in Queensland and need further assistance or have questions about implementing Free Kindy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with ACA Qld or contact us. We are all here to help and support you every step of the way. Together, we can provide the best possible start for all Queensland children.

Download your complimentary Free Kindy Calculator

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Meet Kidsoft’s newest integration partner, ECX

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Kidsoft has teamed up with customer experience leaders ECX to provide an exclusive and first of its kind offering.

You probably already know this, but the no.1 deciding factor on how parents and staff choose a centre is how they feel about it. Your reputation is built on how people feel. every. single. time. they interact with your centre. And this drives your: occupancy, referrals, reviews and staff longevity and commitment.

So how do you know how people are feeling at your centre? Are they loving things? If so why? Is there something bothering them? Are your team feeling valued?

Introducing ECX, the early education sector’s first done-for-you customer experience program. It uncovers and shares how people are feeling so you can focus exactly where you should to improve your reputation and ensure you don’t lose enrolments.

ECX delivers you a:

  • Cutting edge continuous family feedback program
  • Insights and benchmarking dashboards and reports
  • Testimonial collection and Google review drivers
  • Employee experience program
  • And so much more

With ECX you’ll

  • Achieve a competitive advantage
  • Continually uncover how your families are feeling
  • Uncover how your team feel
  • Drive real improvement-occupancy, retention and satisfaction
  • Uncover key insights on where to improve
  • Compare your performance against the industry
  • Get more and better reviews

Here is how you can integrate with ECX in a few easy steps:

  1. Apply and Sign Up

Complete the straightforward application form on the ECX website

  1. Import Data

Kidsoft connects relevant data to the ECX platform ready to deliver surveys to the right families at the right time.

  1. Receive valuable feedback ++

The ECX program will deliver family feedback to your inbox in real time, week after week as well as testimonial lists, detailed analysis, employee feedback and much, much more.

Tanda x Kidsoft Partnership

Meet Kidsoft’s newest integration partner, Tanda

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Kidsoft has teamed up with workforce management software Tanda to leverage the best of both worlds so that you can collaborate with staff in a smarter way and eliminate unnecessary paperwork. Tanda’s integration helps you make time for what matters the most – the children. 

As a global market leader in workforce management, Tanda is committed to changing the quality of work in childcare centres with an industry-leading compliance system which can automate your awards, payroll, and certificates. Say goodbye to having to spend hours double-checking for complex Children’s Services Award compliance. Plus, get notifications when your centre licenses and qualifications expire so that your blue card and first aid certifications are always up to date. 

With a helping hand from Tanda, centre leaders can easily nail the NQF ratio requirements. By cleverly compiling insights from attendance and booking data, Tanda supports centre leaders with better managing educator-to-child ratios and staying within budget based on your centre’s specific service and labour costs. This partnership also expands on current Kidsoft offerings with the introduction of an intelligent rostering system, ‘selfie’ time clock, attendance-to-payroll integration, shift swapping and much more. 

Here’s how you can integrate with Tanda in a few easy, simple steps: 

1. Connect Tanda to Kidsoft
Contact the Kidsoft Customer Success team to coordinate the connection of your Kidsoft account to Tanda.

2. Import Data
Kidsoft connects to Tanda’s API and automatically syncs your demand data or bookings, and attendance data.

3. Create Data Driven Rosters
Use Tanda’s Predictive Workforce functionality to clearly identify compliance risks, and optimise your roster to stay within budget.

4. Optimised Compliant Rosters
Control your staff expenses by knowing how many employees are needed to meet your educator-to-child ratios.

5. Automatic Roster Creation
Automatically generate the ideal roster based on ratios, wage cost, employee availability and more using Tanda’s Cognitive Rosters.

6. Cloud-based Live Insights
Accurately report on your educator-to-child ratios using Live Insights, which tracks your compliance in real-time and determines your under-roof and room ratios to eliminate risk of understaffing.

Together with Tanda, Kidsoft is taking the next step in creating an even more seamless user experience to best support our community. We strive to help simplify the compliance process for childcare centres so that you can spend more time with the little ones in your care.

To learn more about our Tanda integration, or contact our friendly customer success team to discuss connecting your service please click on the below links.

Introducing ChildcareCRM, a Kidsoft Integration Partner

Two ladies smiling at young girl

Did you know that Kidsoft has partnered with the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform and that all Kidsoft users can access their full suite of CRM tools through a seamless and easily completed integration? 

Kidsoft and ChildcareCRM recently announced a new partnership that will bring together two of the sector’s best known brands with the intention of creating a more efficient childcare ecosystem to support services in their family lead management processes. 

ChildcareCRM has a long history of working in the Australian ECEC sector and pioneered the sector’s first dedicated lead management software solution. 

Working on the premise that effective communication and engaging and building relationships with parents and families, right from the time of initial contact with an ECEC service, has always been a crucial element of maintaining high levels of occupancy and customer satisfaction, the company has helped hundreds of services across Australia improve their operational performance. 

Through an intuitive and easy to use interface service managers are able to gather new leads from a range of different sources ensuring that all opportunities to engage with families are maximised, which then empowers them to more effectively coordinate the parent’s journey to enrolment.  

The collaboration leverages ChildcareCRM’s trusted platform to engage those parents and build relationships, as well as using the power of Kidsoft’s CCS Childcare Management solution, which offers a range of integrated tools including parent solutions, secure payment gateway, enrolment tools, attendance tracking and booking management.

By bringing the two platforms together service managers can be confident that they have an end to end solution that will not only improve the parent experience, but also the experience of educators by creating more time to focus on other important tasks.

So how does the integration work? 

Connect to ChildcareCRM Using an application program interface or API, the Kidsoft team will connect your account to your ChildcareCRM account. 

Data Imported – Kidsoft will then automatically sync all of your ChildcareCRM waitlist data, creating records that are ready to be offered as an enrolment to enrolling families. 

Parents enrol Kidsoft will then prompt the enrolling family to create a secure iParentPortal account in its online enrolment facility iEnrol, and then request an online enrolment form to be completed. This will then be sent back to Kidsoft and the enrolment will be processed. 

Leads tracked – All leads that are captured can be tracked using the live insight dashboards in both Kidsoft and ChildcareCRM enabling service managers the ability to evaluate conversion rates and enrolment progression.

“It’s imperative that to build longevity and to create ‘best of breed’ childcare centres that put children first, a collaborative approach with experts in this space is used.” Di Girvin, Kidsoft CEO, explained. 

Childcare CRM CEO, Matt Amoia, agreed, sharing the team’s excitement about joining with Kidsoft “to streamline the technology a service uses to engage and communicate with families, while also creating efficiency in their day-to-day operations on the backend.”

To learn more about the ChildcareCRM integration and their exclusive sign up offer visit the Kidsoft integrations page on the Kidsoft website by clicking here or contact your Kidsoft support desk representative. 

Teacher with three toddlers

ChildcareCRM and Kidsoft Partnership

Teacher with three toddlers

This week Kidsoft, a leader in childcare technology solutions, and ChildcareCRM, the first name in CRM solutions for the childcare industry, announced an integration of their two systems to streamline communication and engagement between parents and centres.

Together, the two companies intend to create a more efficient childcare ecosystem, streamlining the experience of communication from new lead enquiry to enrolled child. The integrated platform is available to childcare centres and their families effective immediately.

The collaboration leverages ChildcareCRM’s trusted platform to engage those parents and build relationships from initial enquiry through to enrolment, as well as the power of Kidsoft’s cloud-based CCS Childcare Management solution. The software offers a range of integrated tools including parent solutions, secure payment gateway, enrolment tools, attendance tracking and booking management.

“Effective communication is so important right now, whether that is with a prospective family or one currently enrolled at a centre,” said Matt Amoia, ChildcareCRM CEO. “We are excited to join with Kidsoft in the effort to streamline the technology a centre uses to engage and communicate with families, while also creating efficiency in their day-to-day operations on the backend.” 

Kidsoft CEO, Di Girvin said, “In the ever-changing landscape of today’s childcare industry partnerships such as the one between ChildcareCRM and Kidsoft are crucial to success. It’s imperative that to build longevity and to create best of breed childcare centres that put children first, a collaborative approach with experts in this space is necessary. It not only allows childcare centres to focus on what they do best but also provides peace of mind to both educators and families. The seamless integration will not only improve the parent experience but also the educators, in the process saving our customers time to focus on other important tasks”

How to get started

  1. Connect ChildcareCRM to Kidsoft
    Connect your Kidsoft account to ChildcareCRM
  2. Import Data
    Kidsoft connects to ChildcareCRM’s API and automatically syncs your waitlist data to Kidsoft creating a waitlist record ready to offer an enrolment at your service.
  3. Online Enrolment Process
    Using Kidsoft’s online enrolment facility, guardians create a secure iParentPortal account and complete an enrolment form.
  4. Track Conversion Rates Live
    Utilise live Insights to track lead conversion with ChildcareCRM and Kidsoft data sync.
Beautiful mother and daughter watch something funny on tablet computer, connected to wireless internet, spend free time in bedroom, have surprised happy expression. People and leisure concept

Kindyhub and Kidsoft Team Up

We’re thrilled to announce our latest API offering with Kindyhub, an innovative communication platform which enables educators to simplify and streamline documentation, enhance communication with parents, in-turn improving children’s learning outcomes.

“The decision to work with Kindyhub has come from the desire to present a best-of-breed solution for our customers.” Di Girvin from Kidsoft explains. “Partnering with complimentary software solutions and businesses will enable Kidsoft to focus on the continuous development and improvement of our product offering, allowing us to focus on what we do best, whilst still providing our customers with an unrivalled complete tech stack to deliver a best in class service to their families.”

Services using Kindyhub for their family engagement, child portfolios and planning can now take advantage of our seamless system integration; a best-in-class communication and CSS Management stack with a single API, saving you a number of hours of manual data entry.

The new integration requires services to only input child / parent information into one system, removing the need for double entry. When a new child commences at your service, and their information is entered into Kidsoft, Kindyhub will automatically synchronise the information. When you update a child’s profile within Kidsoft this too will pull through to the Kindyhub app.

For all bookings, including casual, the child will automatically be marked as present in Kindyhub on the day ensuring they receive any relevant room reports.

These initial features will be added to in time with further integration enhancements planned to achieve a more streamlined experience. 

How does the integration work?

Once the integration is live you will only need to update the children and parent details in Kidsoft, this will automatically sync in your Kindyhub account.

Names are copied over in proper casing for easy readibility.

You will see a notification at the top of your Kindyhub page to advise child profile changes must be made in Kidsoft.

The data between Kidsoft and Kindyhub sync’s every hour.

Kindyhub runs a connection in the background to match up names from both services. If a nickname is present in Kidsoft this is the name that will be displayed in Kindyhub.

If a child’s name does not match up, you can use the mapping screen to associate two child records in each system.

You will make the change in Kidsoft first and confirm the exit date. Once the child’s profile has an exit date, the Kindyhub system will automatically deactivate that child’s account.

Yes. Once a child has been confirmed as absent in Kidsoft this will automatically sync with Kindyhub, therefor Parent’s will not receive the daily updates from that day.

Interested in Kindyhub?

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Exclusive Offer - 12 months FREE Kindyhub

As a certified Kidsoft partner Kindyhub is delighted to offer Kidsoft customers, that currently do not use Kindyhub, 12 months FREE Kindyhub access.
*Conditions Apply

Kindyhub is a certified Kidsoft partner. Kindyhub enables educators to simplify and streamline documentation, enhance communication with parents, in-turn improving children’s learning outcomes. Learn more about Kindyhub and how they can assist your business by clicking here.

Dan Tehan

Government Update on COVID-19 support measures for Victoria ECEC sector

Dan Tehan announcement

Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan has announced a new set of emergency support measures to support the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Victoria in light of the move to Stage 4 lockdown in Metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 in Regional Victoria announced 2 August 2020. 

The key measures, that are to come into effect on 6 August 2020 are confirmed as:

  • Families will be allocated a further 30 days of allowable absences to use at their service in addition to the 42 that are already in place, giving a total of 72 allowable absences available for families to use. 
  • Services will receive a further 5 per cent of reference period revenue as a further top up business continuity payment. This will be in addition to the existing 25 per cent Transition Payments that are currently in place bringing a total guaranteed receipt of 30 per cent for all services.

Importantly, a separate measure has been put in place for any service that receives Child Care Subsidy (CCS) that is equal to or lower than 50 per cent of their total revenue and that has seen attendances fall below 30 per cent. 

Services meeting these criteria will instead receive top up payment of between 10 per cent and 25 per cent depending on their specific circumstances in addition to their current 25 per cent Transition Payments.

Unpacking the latest ECEC support measures for Metro Melbourne Services

They will receive a new Top Up Payment directly from Government equal to 5 per cent of revenues in the reference period which, like for the ECEC Relief Package payments, will be the fortnight ending 1 March 2020. 

This payment will be in addition to the 25 per cent Transition Payment currently being received. 

In theory yes, but only if the child’s bookings are marked as absent and count towards allowable absent days. 

If they do this, then the service will continue to receive the child care subsidy (CCS) for their fees from the Government without families having to pay the gap fee.

Yes, it is essential. 

The whole package is based around the assumption that allowable absences are being used and that’s why in this latest package the number of days was increased by 30.

Without this part of the package the viability of the sector and all of the services, and their employees, within it are at risk. It is essential that services proactively engage families to ensure they take their allowable absences. 

That means that if a family has one child that attends 3 days a week there are sufficient absences for 10 weeks. Given the lockdown is set for 6 weeks, that should be more than enough.

Mr Tehan’s comment is based on a set of assumptions that have not been made public however by working through an example, it is possible to see that where his estimates may come from. 

A service with 75 license places and fees of $100 per day is currently at 75 per cent occupancy. The daily revenues for the service is $5,625 (75 places x $100 fees x 75 per cent occupancy). 

This service receives 45 per cent of its fees from families as gap payments, and 55 per cent from the Government in the form of CCS. 

As a result of the Stage 4 restrictions 90 per cent of their enrolled families will no longer be able to attend because they are not permitted workers. The other 10 per cent will attend as normal. 

Families that will not be attending the service use their allowable absences and in so doing enable the CCS component of their fees to be paid.

This will equal $2,531 (90 per cent of current enrolments x $100 fees x 50 per cent CCS paid). In addition to this they will receive the gap and CCS for the permitted workers (10 per cent of enrolments) whose children are attending which equates to $750 per day (10 per cent of current enrolments x $100). 

So the total fees, both gap and CCS received will be $3,281 or 58 per cent of current revenues. 

We will then need to add on the Transition Payments and the Top Up Transition Payments which are being received and are equal to 25 per cent and 5 per cent of revenue in the March fortnight reference period. 

These, assuming revenues are the same as currently, will see the service receive $1,406 plus $281 respectively. 

Combining the gap and CCS received of $3,281 and Transition Payments of $1,687 we get $4,968 which is 88 per cent of current revenues. 

*It is important to recognise this is an example and all services will have different inputs and therefore outputs but regardless of specific service circumstances the example provides an indication of the framework to be applied when considering the financial impact of this latest announcement.

This is a key point. Those services that receive less CCS from the Government would be at a serious disadvantage from those that receive more without any fault of their own. 

To address this the package includes a special provision that will see larger top up payments flow to services with less than 50 per cent CCS that have seen enrolments fall by 30 per cent. 

The Top Ups for eligible services will be between 10 per cent and 25 per cent depending on their specific circumstances and be paid in addition to the current 25 per cent Transition Payment.

Although complete details have not yet been published it is understood that the rules are similar to the existing Transition Payment scheme in place with no fee increases and employment guarantees being mandatory.

This package is only for services in the 31 designated metropolitan local government areas across.

The Sector will continue to cover announcements and policy changes as they come to light. To access all relevant statements and transcripts from the Federal Government, please see here.

Written by Jason Roberts, The Sector for Kidsoft
Jason is the founder and CEO of The Sector. He entered the ECEC sector in 2013 as CEO of G8 Education. He spent four years in senior executive positions before transitioning out of the business in January 2018. His time at G8 has given him a very valuable insight into the managing of large child care business and all the successes and challenges that come with them. Since leaving G8 Jason has continued to actively consult to the ECEC sector as an advisor, and work toward launching The Sector website.

Kidsoft New Features

New Features within Kidsoft

Kidsoft just got better!

Our new release of features have come to life based on your feedback and suggestions. Whether via Kidsoft Family forums, emails to our Customer Success team or through our daily chats with you all.

We’re excited to announce the addition of three new features which have been implemented in order to give you additional peace of mind and provide operational efficiencies in the day to day management of your service. 

We’ve developed a series of bite sized tutorial videos covering each feature. If you have further queries or feedback we’d love to hear from you.

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C&K confirms partnership with Kidsoft for another two years

Happy girl and teacher having fun in nursery

This week C&K (The Creche and Kindergarten Association Limited) announced their continued partnership with childcare management software provider Kidsoft, renewing their subscription across their portfolio of kindergartens and childcare centres for the 8th and 9th year.

For 113 years, C&K has cared for and educated over one million children and is Queensland’s pre-eminent provider of early education and care.

“We have over 350 kindergarten and childcare centres throughout Queensland, and as a not-for-profit, children come first in everything we do.” said C&K CFO, Mark Stones.

“C&K have been successfully using Kidsoft as our childcare management software tool and payment gateway since 2013 across all of our centres, and we’re excited to continue our partnership.  The Kidsoft platform supports day-to-day management efficiencies and assists with CCS requirements – simplifying and streamlining our operational processes.”

Australian owned and operated Kidsoft is a cloud-based CCS Childcare Management solution. The software offers a range of integrated tools including parent solutions, secure payment gateway, enrolment tools, attendance tracking and booking management in addition to an ever-increasing list of public APIs allowing customers to integrate with more platforms than just the Kidsoft ecosystem.

Kidsoft CFO, Di Girvin said, “We’re delighted that 2020 will see Kidsoft continuing to work alongside C&K. It has been a positive partnership since day one with both organisations developing over this period of time. In particular the Kidsoft product continually innovating to deliver functional features tailored to the feedback and needs of our customers.”

In the ever-changing landscape of today’s childcare sector, partnerships such as the one between C&K and Kidsoft are crucial to success. It’s imperative that to build longevity and to create best of breed childcare centres that put children first, a collaborative approach with experts in this space is necessary. It not only allows childcare centres to focus on what they do best but also provides peace of mind to both educators and families.

About C&K
For 113 years, C&K (The Creche and Kindergarten Association Limited) has cared for and educated over one million children and is Queensland’s pre-eminent provider of early education and care. C&K have over 350 kindergarten and childcare centres throughout Queensland, and as a not-for-profit, children come first in everything they do.

The Return to CCS Package Kidsoft

The Return to CCS Package

Kidsoft hosts online event to support ECEC sector as return to CCS package plays out

Cloud based CCMS provider, Kidsoft, brought the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector together yesterday evening in an online event designed to explore the challenges and changes 2020 has seen to date, with a focus on the recent return to CCS funding. 

Moderated by The Sector founder, Jason Roberts, a panel comprised of HR professionals, chartered accountants and customer service experts explored a range of topics including the impact of the return to Stage Three lockdowns in Victoria, the challenges in supporting families during this difficult period, and practical suggestions for service owners and managers to survive the transition back to CCS.

Over 400 registrations were received for the popular event, the first in a series of collaborative efforts by Kidsoft to enhance and add value to the ECEC space. 

Managing Victorian restrictions and the cessation of JobKeeper 

The first speaker, David Morphett from DJMIR Advisory Services spoke about the intensive impact of the return to lockdown conditions in Victoria, which have hit services just as they were eyeing a return to normal, in terms of occupancy and operation.

While the State is “yet to find the bottom” of the crisis, he added, there are a number of parents who are experiencing frustration with the continual change of restrictions, choosing to withdraw their children from care altogether, rather than to trust the allowable absence levels, or to navigate fluctuating levels of CCS payment and risk incurring fees. 

Parents are choosing instead to keep children at home until the path forward, both in terms of restrictions and their employment, becomes clearer, and this is impacting heavily on the operation of ECEC services. 

Just as the return of restrictions in Victoria is impacting parents and families, Mr Morphett said, from a national perspective, the cessation of JobKeeper for the ECEC sector, and the transitional support measures put in its place as CCS returns, is also impacting on the experience of leaders in the sector. 

Once JobKeeper ends, Mr Morphett explained, so too do the stand down measures which came with it. For services who are battling lower occupancy, who have had to move staff from one room to another, who have lost staff due to visa conditions, or who have moved staff from full time employment to part time employment, this could be problematic. 

The coming months will be a time during which services are constrained by conditions relating to the transitional support measures, and engaging in consultation with their teams about the best path forward to ensure ongoing viability, he added. 

Supporting families, maintaining relationships

Second speaker, Tom Scantlebury from Sky Blue Customer Experience Services, spoke on a topic familiar to all those working in the ECEC sector – the value of relationship based practice. 

“The most important thing to do during this period is to grow an extra ear” Mr Scantlebury said, explaining the importance of balancing compliance with empathy, and of seeking to walk in the shoes of children and families who are dealing with unprecedented levels of stress. 

While owners and operators are under enormous pressure themselves, in terms of managing the expectations of their teams and the demands placed on them by the shifting sands of policy and funding, families are looking to trusted voices for reassurance and stability. 

People, Mr Scantlebury said, will leave services because of their circumstances, such as losing their job, but the way in which follow ups from these departures are handled will determine whether or not they return once circumstances change. 

Using the example of a service following up with a family who has left in relation to unpaid fees, Mr Scantlebury preached caution. 

“When it comes to families, and our relationships with them, it’s a matter of listening, empathising, and staying as close as possible.” 

Communication, particularly in relation to any changes, is paramount in maintaining that close relationship, he continued, explaining that the return to restrictions in Victoria is likely to impact around Australia, with parents having questions about pick up and drop off, and how their child will be cared for and protected.


Relationships don’t begin and end with families, with both Mr Morphett and Mr Scantlebury outlining the importance of maintaining clear relationships and “lines of sight” with the educators and leaders within services also. 

Mr Morphett spoke on the need for services to spend the next 12 weeks, whilst transition support measures are in play, actively consulting with their teams about the employment landscape post September, and to use this time to build a solid plan. 

Mr Scantlebury touched on the need for leaders to be sensitive to the uncertainties faced by their employees, who may be operating from a baseline of anxiety, arising from circumstances in their home lives, such as a partners job loss, or the need to care for and educate their own children at home. 

The educators affected by stand downs or reductions in hours, he added, are the “front line” in maintaining relationships and empathising with families, and if they feel “hard done by” or disengaged, the impact to the business could be ongoing. 

“This is the toughest time to be a leader” Mr Scantlebury said. “You’ve got to manage the business, but also the people and the relationships.”

Practicalities around CCS return 

While the return to lockdown restrictions in Victoria has had a social and emotional impact on those residing there, the timing of the lockdown, falling during the transition back to CCS, has proved problematic for some Victorian providers. 

The final speaker of the evening, Kidsoft CFO Di Girvin, shared her advice for Victorian services, and for other services who may be struggling to navigate the change. 

“Everyone had been ramping up to return to normal on Monday” she said. “There’s lots of questions from Victorian services about the capacity of CCMS software to waive the gap fee for those absences, and about the administrative burden of applying discounts day by day or week by week to those absences which relate directly to COVID.”

While Kidsoft is agile and has been able to rapidly respond to these challenges, not all providers have had the same experience. 

Owners and managers, Ms Girvin continued, are also dealing with families who are concerned about allowable absences, as Mr Morphett outlined earlier. Occupancy levels are “plunging” as families choose the easier option of cancelling their enrolment, rather than navigating the allowable absences path. 

For those outside Victoria, Ms Girvin said, it was important to remain aware of the practicalities of moving not only from a “free childcare” model back to CCS, but also of straddling a new financial year. 

“It feels like we’ve been on this holiday since 6 April, in terms of functions we haven’t had to worry about or complete (to be compliant) but come Monday, we really need to look at those things which might impact our FY2020 results”. 

Dealing with overdue attendances, and submitting variations in attendances up until 6 April are just two of the areas where Ms Girvin said people may have been “caught short” when free childcare was announced. 

“We recommend overdue attendances are dealt with early in the piece, particularly before reports are submitted to accountants” she continued.

Concluding remarks 

To round off the discussion, Mr Roberts posed some questions to the panel, put forward by peer vote from those attending the session. 

One important question related to Family Day Care (FDC), with an audience member asking “Do you see FDC becoming the forefront of ECEC because of their smaller ratios and more flexible time scales, for families?” 

“I think FDC is so important, particularly in regional areas” Mr Morphett explained, outlining that many rural and regional communities lack the consistent numbers to sustain a long day care model. 

“A lot of parents feel more comfortable placing children in FDC when they are younger. It doesn’t receive as much support as it deserves, particularly in those regional areas. I’m hopeful to see that expand in the future” he said.  

Mr Roberts thanked the panel and audience for their participation. To view the remarks made by all three speakers, please see here. Answers to questions which were not able to be answered during the session can be found below. Please note there are a few that will be added in the coming days, so please check back if your questions hasn’t been listed.

For those who were unable to attend, but who are interested in learning more from Kidsoft or any of the other panellists please click here.

Attendee Questions

CCS Estimations are already in Kidsoft and are displaying for bookings from  Monday 13th July 2020. If you run a customer account statement from the 13th July you will see these. As long as the Guardians have an active payment schedule, the schedules will run as per your normal payment cycle.

Victorian services can put standard service and child level discounts back in. For services in the affected areas of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire if a child is absent for COVID-related reasons they can then waive the gap fee using the % of gap fee Discount. Additionally, for any service that is forced to close on public health advice, as a result of COVID-19, they can also waive families’ out of pocket fees using the % of gap fee Discount as the Ministers Rule has been extended from 30 June 2020 until 31 December 2020.

Yes, that is correct. The Minister’s Rule that permits services to waive families’ out of pocket fees in the event their service is forced to close on public health advice, as a result of COVID-19, will be extended from 30 June 2020 until 31 December 2020. Services using Kidsoft would use the % Gap Fee Discount to carry out this function.

The 62 initial allowable absence days per child ceased on 30 June 2020. There will be 42 initial allowable absence days in the 2020/21 financial year. Additional absence days can be claimed for COVID-19 related reasons without the need for medical evidence and are not counted towards their 42 initial days up until 31 December 2020.

We have never experienced such a time where so many of our communities have been impacted by something so serious. If you think back to the recent bushfires, I would imagine that if certain families lost their homes then there would have been tremendous levels of support and empathy extended to them. I feel we need to operate with that same mindset, to be open hearted and ensure that our families (and our staff) feel supported. How do we do that? Communicate, listen, focus on the parent’s experiences outside of the service. People can tell when you care about them so just by ensuring that this is front of mind on a daily basis will help to maintain/build engagement.

*Sky Blue CXS will soon be providing a free webinar to provide an introduction to some best practices in creating better centre experiences so feel free to connect with HERE to be included in the first round of the education series. 

Written by Freya Lucas, The Sector for Kidsoft
Freya is the Editor at The Sector. She has over 20 years experience in education and care services, with her previous roles as an early childhood teacher, primary teacher, and ECEC operations manager giving her a unique insight into the ECEC sector at all levels. Freya’s career has seen her work in private in-home care, primary schools, long day care, outside school hours care, in addition to tuition and library information and management settings. Freya’s key role at The Sector is to cover the latest ECEC news and provide insight and analysis into sector issues and developments. Freya is engaged with two sons aged 10 and 15. Freya has fond memories of the time her boys’ spent in the early education space.