Skip to main content

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency (IA) is part of the Inclusion Support Program and is managed by KU Children’s Services, in partnership with Include Me and Gowrie NSW.

The Inclusion Support Program aims to build the capacity and capability of educators to address participation barriers for all children through implementing quality inclusive practices.

Understanding Inclusion

When we are talking about inclusion, are we talking about the same thing?

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) tells us that inclusion involves:

‘taking into account all children’s social, cultural and linguistic diversity (including learning styles, abilities, disabilities, gender, family circumstances and geographic location) in curriculum decision-making processes. The intent is to ensure that:

  • all children’s experiences are recognised and valued
  • all children have equitable access to resources and participation, and opportunities to demonstrate their learning and to value difference.'

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Canberra, ACT: DEEWR (p.45).

Inclusion is Important

Everyone benefits

All children have the right to be included in children’s services. We know from research that all children benefit from belonging to, and participating in, quality inclusive child care.

An inclusive service provides a unique opportunity for children to play, develop and learn together with children of their own age. These relationships are the foundations for learning and provide a powerful way of belonging to a group and developing a sense of self.

When educators value inclusion you will see them...

  • Embracing the rights of all children to access and participate in programs
  • Welcoming all children at the service
  • Providing flexible programs and environments that meet individual needs and interests
  • Building partnerships with families and communities
  • Working collaboratively
  • Engaging in ongoing reflection and learning
  • Inviting and welcoming family and community participation
  • Knowing their knowledge, skills and experience are valued

How will we support you?

Our team of Inclusion Professionals support both whole Family Day Care services and individual Family Day Care educators.

We recognise that the inclusion journey of each Family Day Care service is unique and that the inclusion needs of the whole Family Day Care service and individual educators can be quite different. The support we provide is tailored to meet your individual inclusion needs.

You will be directly supported by your Inclusion Professional, who is based at an Inclusion Hub within the NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency.

Our Inclusion Professionals use a strengths-based approach, including coaching and practical inclusion advice when supporting you. We can provide you with a combination of flexible support options that include over the phone and online appointments and/or visits to your Family Day Care service.

In some circumstances, when additional resources may be required, visits to Family Day Care educator homes can also be arranged.

What is the role of an Inclusion Professional?

Your Inclusion Professional will support you to:

  • Acknowledge and identify your strengths
  • Reflect on your understanding of inclusion and identify inclusion barriers
  • Critically reflect on your practices
  • Overcome specific inclusion barriers by identifying and planning practical strategies and solutions through the development of a Strategic Inclusion Plan
  • Implement your service's Strategic Inclusion Plan, reflect on your progress and identify next steps
  • Promote an understanding of inclusion principles with families and other professionals
  • Access all Inclusion Support Program (ISP) resources including the Inclusion Development Fund, if required, to support children to access and participate in every aspect of the program
  • Work in partnership with families, community groups, services and organisations

Inclusion Professionals are unable to:

  • Assess or support individual children
  • Provide funding for one to one support for individual children
  • Tell you what to do or what resources you have to use
  • Provide access to specialist equipment for therapy purposes
  • Complete planning and/or funding applications on your/the services behalf
  • Recommend ECEC services to families

Strategic Inclusion Planning

A Strategic Inclusion Plan is the first step in accessing support from the Inclusion Agency.

The Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP) is a self-guided inclusion assessment and planning tool for services, which includes strategies for improving and embedding inclusive practice, in line with the National Quality Standard (NQS).

A Strategic Inclusion Plan is developed, implemented and evaluated within a 12 month period and can be updated at any time to reflect changes and to record progress.

A Strategic Inclusion Plan can link with your service’s Quality Improvement Plan or NSW Self-Assessment Working Document and may be sighted by Authorised Officers from state and territory regulatory authorities, as evidence of critical reflection and inclusion planning.

Strategic Inclusion Planning for Family Day Care services:

Developing a Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP) for your whole Family Day Care service, in conjunction with your Inclusion Professional, supports you to identify your current inclusion capacity as well as identify strategies and actions you and your team will implement to ensure all children can actively and meaningfully participate in the program.

Strategic Inclusion Planning for individual Family Day Care educators:

In consultation with your Family Day Care service, developing a Strategic Inclusion Plan supports you to identify your current inclusion capacity as well as the strategies and actions you will implement to ensure all children can actively and meaningfully participate in your program

An Inclusion Professional will help you on your inclusion journey by:

  • Listening to your successes and challenges
  • Supporting you to critically reflect on practice and identify your inclusion barriers
  • Providing practical advice
  • Helping you to identify possibilities for change and ways to achieve this

Valuing Inclusion

Promting Inclusion Postcard

We recognise your ongoing commitment to inclusion of by providing you with an “Our service values inclusion” acknowledgement when you have an active Strategic Inclusion Plan.

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency recognises your service’s ongoing commitment to inclusion by providing your service with a Strategic Inclusion Plan postcard when you have an active Strategic Inclusion Plan. For Family Day Care, this postcard can be displayed at the service's main office location and also within individual educator's homes.

This postcard can be displayed to show families, the community, Authorised Officers, and any other visitors to your service that you value diversity and recognise inclusion as a right for all children.

Each year that your service maintains an active SIP, your Inclusion Professional will provide your service with a new postcard for that year which shows that you continue to be a service that values inclusion

Children with Additional Needs

While there is no national definition of ‘additional needs’, there are children who may need or require specific considerations or adaptations to participate fully in ECEC services (although not all children with additional needs will require support).

The Inclusion Support Program (ISP) supports educators to address access and participation barriers and to support the inclusion of children with additional needs, with their typically developing peers.

The Inclusion Support Program recognises that additional needs may arise for children who:

  • Have a disability or developmental delay
  • Are presenting with challenging behaviours
  • Have a serious medical or health condition, including mental health
  • Are presenting with trauma-related behaviours

and for children from:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Refugee or humanitarian backgrounds

who may also require special considerations, such as cultural support, to ensure that they are able to participate fully in family day care and experience positive outcomes.

Extract from: Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Inclusion Support Program Guidelines, Version 2.3, July 2021.

Specialist Equipment Library

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency includes the Specialist Equipment Library (SEL). The SEL loans a range of specialist equipment, free of charge, to Family Day Care educators to enable children to access and participate in all aspects of the program.

Additional Support Options

Through the development of a Strategic Inclusion Plan, FDC services and/or educators might identify inclusion barriers that cannot be resolved through accessing support from the Inclusion Agency or Specialist Equipment Library (SEL) alone.

In these circumstances, the Inclusion Support Program (ISP) can provide further support through the Inclusion Development Fund Manager (IDFM).

Inclusion Development Fund Support Options

There are two streams of Inclusion Development Funds (IDF) available to support Family Day Care services and educators to address barriers to inclusion. Each have different eligibility criteria, application processes and approved funding purposes. These two streams of IDF funding include:

  • Family Day Care Top Up (FDC educators only)

The Family Day Care (FDC) Top Up provides a fee top up payment to an educator, where the inclusion of a child with a disability results in the educator being unable to enrol the maximum number of children as allowed under the National Law.

  • Innovative Solutions Support (FDC services and Educators)

Innovative Solutions Support funds flexible and alternative solutions to address inclusion barriers in Family Day Care services

Working Together

A common goal between Family Day Care educators and families is quality outcomes for children. Collaborative partnerships are fundamental to achieving this.

In collaborative partnerships, families and educators:

  • value each other’s knowledge of each child
  • value each other’s roles in each child’s life
  • trust each other
  • communicate freely and respectfully with each other
  • share insights and perspectives about each child and engage in shared decision making.

(ACECQA, National Quality Standard Information sheet - Quality area 6 - Building partnerships with families. October 2016)

To support building relationships between educators and families, ECIA NSW/ACT in collaboration with a working group representing the ECI and ECEC sectors have developed a free resource called The Working Together Agreement that you might like to explore. This resource promotes and encourages a coordinated approach to inclusion for children with a disability and/or developmental delay.

How to Access Support

As a Family Day Care service, please contact your Inclusion Professional directly, at a time that is convenient for you. Their contact details can be located at the bottom of each email they have sent the service.

As a Family Day Care educator, please contact your Inclusion Professional through consultation with your Family Day Care service.

Alternatively, please contact our friendly team at the IA Help Hub on 1800 703 382 (toll-free) or email us at

The NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency will contact each Family Day Care service at least twice each year, via phone or email. This provides you with the opportunity to access support and share your inclusion achievements and challenges with your Inclusion Professional.

Your Inclusion Professional will also be able to share with you information about available inclusion resources, upcoming professional conversations opportunities and program support options.

We look forward to working with you soon and sharing in your inclusion journey.

Resources to Support Inclusive Practice

Childrens Voices booklet
1.30 MiB [pdf]
Inclusion Matters Poster
1.41 MiB [pdf]
NSW Understanding Behaviour Poster CBDC FDC
1.68 MiB [pdf]
The A Z of making Inclusion happen
508.56 KB [pdf]

Inclusion in Action

Sherif FDC 4

Beyond NAIDOC Week

Sherif Family Day Care’s Journey

Our journey of including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders cultures began in 2018 when our Inclusion Professional, Gayle Biddle, asked us, ‘‘How inclusive is your philosophy?”