Skip to main navigation Skip to content
Goodstart homepage Goodstart Early Learning logo

Early Learning Fund set to give fee-relief to 1,000 vulnerable children this year

Goodstart stories

This year, up to 1,000 children and their families attending Goodstart centres will receive much-needed fee-relief for a minimum of two days of early learning and care every week, thanks to the Early Learning Fund.

They join hundreds more children attending Uniting centres who will receive support from the Early Learning Fund which aims to enable every child to have a better future.

Since 2016, the Fund has been a life-changing opportunity for children and families in need of extra help – providing wrap-around support in addition to fee-relief (parents make a co-contribution of $5 a day).

What is ELF from Early Learning Fund on Vimeo.

National Social Inclusion Lead, Penny Markham, said the Early Learning Fund was borne from Goodstart educators identifying a safety net was needed to ensure no child missed out on vital early learning and care.

“Not all of Australia’s children get the government help they need to attend early learning,” Penny said.

“While there are government programs to assist in the short-term, each year many thousands of children miss out on the opportunity to continue with early learning when this support ends.

“The Early Learning Fund was created to solve this problem.”

Since 2016, more than 1,700 children (attending Goodstart and Uniting centres), experiencing sudden hardship, children from refugee families and those who are vulnerable, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, have been supported by the Early Learning Fund.

“The key barriers that prevent these children from participating are the cost of fees, and non–cost barriers such as transport, cultural factors, and complex family circumstances,” Penny said. 

“Evidence tell us that children from the four cohorts that the Fund targets begin school behind their peers, with delays in language, social and behavioural skills.”

“Access to high quality early learning programs in the two years before school is linked to improved outcomes in school and life.

“This is why the Early Learning Fund is life-changing – by ensuring these vulnerable children are participating in high quality early learning programs during the most vital window of their development, from ages three to five years, to help launch them into school and life.” 

Goodstart centres are currently in the process of identifying children eligible to receive support from the Early Learning Fund in 2021, with many children from last year, continuing to receive a second year of support.

More about the Early Learning Fund
The Early Learning Fund is overseen and managed by The Benevolent Society and program partners Goodstart and Uniting identify and offer support to eligible children. 

The Fund is directly linked to achieving Goodstart’s vision for all of Australia’s children to get the best possible start in life. 

Many Goodstart employees generously donate via their regular pay to the Early Learning Fund via our workplace giving program, Giving@Goodstart. 

Thanks to the Early Learning Fund, children are given:
  • A minimum of two days of early learning each week (parents make a co-contribution of $5 per day, with all other costs of care and other support covered by the Fund). 

  • Wrap-around support to assist each child’s individual learning, development and wellbeing outcomes.

Are you purpose-driven, a corporate partner or philanthropic organisation, interested to lend support to this cause? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out via

Goodstart Live Chat