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After months of preparation, the Early Learning Fund is expanding with Uniting (NSW/ACT) set to join an increased number of Goodstart centres able to offer support to children and families who are struggling to afford quality early learning.

With the help of funds from Giving@Goodstart, significant donations from some suppliers and philanthropic support Goodstart is now set to be able to help up to 700 children per year.

Goodstart chief executive officer Julia Davison said the fund supported children in the community to get a little more help to ensure they had the same opportunities as the child who lived next door, down the street or around the corner.

“The ELF works to identify and support young children who might otherwise miss out,” Ms Davison said. “These include family who are in hardship, some indigenous children, refugee children and children at risk of abuse and neglect.

Other children eligible come from homes that have been thrown into sudden chaos and it’s after they have exhausted all possible government assistance they can apply for ELF.

“This project sits at Goodstart’s very core. It’s the kind of vital support we strive to provide for Australia’s very vulnerable children and families.”

National lead social inclusion Penny Markham said the team hoped to support 370-400 children in the next six months with another cohort expected to start early next year.

“We will now be organising briefing sessions with the centres in each state that have eligible children so that they can move to offering the ELF to their families,” Ms Markham said.

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