Continuing our interview series we sat down with Di Girvin, Infocare Solutions CEO to discuss early childhood education funding. It’s a big topic with a lot of moving parts. We cover how to stay informed and in times of uncertainty how to plan forward.
Staying informed and up to date can be a challenge, what are your recommendations?
- Ministry of Education Bulletins. Subscribe to MOE bulletins to receive timely updates on childcare funding rate changes. These bulletins are the primary source for staying informed about funding updates.
- Funding Handbook. Regularly refer to the ECE Funding Handbook as a comprehensive resource for childcare funding guidelines. Note that changes to the handbook are often highlighted in the MOE Bulletin, making it easier to track updates.
- Partner with a trusted childcare management software. They will keep you informed of regulatory change so you can implement on time. It’s like a form of insurance to help you stay compliant and have accurate financial records. Infocare communicates with customers when funding rates are changed.
- Stay proactive. Given the frequency of funding rate changes, it’s essential to stay proactive in monitoring updates. Allocate time and resources to review and implement changes promptly.
- Use peer networks. There are some excellent groups focussed on ECE, such as the ECE Leaders and Managers Facebook group.
What do ECE Owners need to know about the status quo and proposed changes to funding?
The upcoming October general election introduces a high degree of uncertainty in the ECE sector. Providers will need to navigate this uncertainty while planning their future budgets. Traditionally, childcare centres plan their budgets based on current funding levels for the upcoming year. However, the election and potential policy changes complicate this planning process.
- Labour’s Promise / Hourly Rate Fees
- Labour has pledged to introduce 20 ECE hours for 2-year-olds in March 2024.
- This will bring about significant changes, including the implementation of an hourly rate fee structure for children opting in for these 20 ECE hours.
- Providers will need to calculate and submit hourly rate fees to the Ministry of Education for children opting in for the 20 ECE hours.
- The specific details of how these calculations and submissions will work are yet to be determined by the MoE.
- National Party’s Proposal
- In contrast, the National Party has proposed a Family Tax Credit of $75.00 per eligible child if they are elected
- This alternative approach could have a different impact on childcare centres and their funding models
- Adaptability and Flexibility
- Childcare providers should prepare for various scenarios by developing adaptable budgets. This includes considering the implications of both the Labour Party’s proposal and the National Party’s alternative.
How does Infocare help their customers?
Via robust reporting. Infocare provides tools that enable ECE owners and staff to make accurate calculations for funding submissions. When all data is entered correctly into Infocare’s system, the submission amount will match the funding summary report precisely, down to the dollar.
This alignment between data entry and the funding summary report provides a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the financial figures. Having confidence in the accuracy of funding submissions allows childcare centres to ensure that their funding aligns with their budget projections.
Earlier we talked about partnering with a trusted childcare management software. Infocare is What is the elevator pitch for Infocare?
NZ support team, local pride
- We boast a support team entirely based in New Zealand, which sets us apart
- Our team’s background in Early Childhood Education (ECE) ensures a deep understanding of the sector’s challenges and requirements
- CEO Di Girvin’s strong connection to New Zealand, having been born, bred, and schooled in the Far North, further strengthens our commitment to the ECE sector in the country
Knowledge and experience
- In uncertain times, having a partner with knowledge and experience is critical
- Infocare’s ECE-specialised team can provide valuable insights and support to navigate challenges effectively
- Since 2003 Infocare Solutions has provided New Zealand’s childcare services with childcare management software
- Our software has an uptime of over 99%
- More operators choose us than any other Childcare Administration software
- Our solution is designed to meet the technological needs of modern childcare centres.
- Our commitment to staying up-to-date with technology trends ensures that clients have access to the latest tools and features
You can learn more about Infocare Solutions on their website.