Health and Development Participant Grant Program FAQs
Find answers to the questions most frequently asked about the Health and Development Participation (HDP) Grant Program.
About the HDP Grant program
The HDP Grant provides funding to eligible early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to participate in the Health and Development Checks in Early Childhood Education Program (HDC program).
The HDP Grant funding aims to support ECEC services to participate in the HDC program in the 2024 calendar year.
The HDP Grant program was designed based on feedback from the ECEC sector on key barriers to participating in the HDC program. The HDP Grant program aims to address three challenges, including:
- supporting staffing relief during the health and development check
- creating suitable spaces for health and development checks
- capacity building on the HDC program.
For any questions on the HDP Grant, please contact the Early Childhood Development team on EarlyChildhoodDevelopment@det.nsw.edu.au.
Services that can apply for the grants include not-for-profit community preschools, not-for- profit long day cares and standalone for-profit long day cares.
Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services, Aboriginal Child and Family Centres and Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations that offer health and development checks are encouraged to apply for the grant, even if the check they deliver is not through the HDC program.
A full list of services that can apply is listed in Section 4.1 of the program guidelines.
If an approved provider seeks to apply for the grant on behalf of more than 10 services, they will have the option to submit a bulk application. In this case they will be asked to provide:
- the number of services included in the application
- Service Approval numbers for all services included in the application (SE-12345678): Numbers only enter your 8 digit SE number as per NQAITS.
Applications for the HDP Grant program open on 7 February 2024.
Applications will close on 31 March 2024.
Application outcomes are expected to be released on 31 May 2024. Payment of the grant will occur before 30 June 2024.
Application process for the HDP Grant program
The application will take about 10-15 minutes to complete. Most questions are simple tick boxes or short free text fields.
The decision to apply for funding rests with the applicant organisation. Any decision to apply for the HDP grant program should first be discussed with the approved provider of your service.
Important things to consider include:
- Do you meet the eligibility requirements?
- Are the funding categories suitable for your service?
- Will your service be prepared to spend the grant funds (by 31 December 2024) in ways which directly support children’s participation in the HDC program in 2024?
It is up to applicants to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the HDP Grant program guidelines. It is not mandatory to apply for the HDP Grant program to participate in the HDC program.
If your question is related to the SmartyGrants website and form, you can view the Help guide for applicants for an explanation of the essential steps you need to take to complete and submit your application form.
Any other questions can be directed to the Early Childhood Development team by emailing EarlyChildhoodDevelopment@det.nsw.edu.au.
If you have submitted your application in error prior to the closing date, you may retrieve and further edit your application from SmartyGrants by contacting the Early Childhood Development team at EarlyChildhoodDevelopment@det.nsw.edu.au.
As this grant is non-competitive, applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria and spending rules of the grant. Grant funding (until exhausted) will be provided to eligible services that apply to spend the funds according to the spending rules and to support their participation in the HDC Program.
If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the total grant funds, the NSW Department of Education will award the grant based on the preference hierarchy outlined in Section 3.2 of the program guidelines.
Using the HDP Grant
Approved providers that are successful in the application process will receive payment prior to 30 June 2024.
The NSW Department of Education will pay the grant to approved providers as a one-off payment through the Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS).
Approved providers are required to accept the ECCMS Terms and Conditions before submitting an application. The 2024 Early Childhood Outcomes Terms and Conditions are applicable to all users of ECCMS and are the same Terms and Conditions that providers are required to accept for the Start Strong for Long Day Care program.
Further information on ECCMS and the Terms and Conditions can be found in Section 4.3 of the program guidelines.
Services must spend grant funding within a six month period (from 30 June 2024 to 31 December 2024). Services must also participate in the HDC program in the 2024 calendar year.
Cases of extenuating circumstances which cause a delay to an approved provider’s HDC participation in the 2024 calendar year may be considered on a case-by-case basis by the HDC program team at the Department of Education. If you have any concerns, please contact us at EarlyChildhoodDevelopment@det.nsw.edu.au.
In the HDP Grant program, a suitable space is a place that allows the HDC program to be conducted privately.
This can be a separate room, area, or classroom within an ECEC setting. If there is no option for onsite delivery, this category can also extend to a roaming clinic space or local offsite venue hire, preferably within walking distance of the ECEC service.
Any minor capital work that involves repurposing or refurbishing rooms or spaces within the service to provide suitable space.
Grant funding cannot be used to fund any major capital works, or any major expenditure related to major building refurbishments, structural repairs or other improvements. For more information on major capital works, see Section 5.1 of the program guidelines.
Where possible, services are encouraged to avoid transporting children to take part in the HDC program.
If no suitable space is available at the ECEC service to participate in the HDC Program, services are encouraged to hire either a roaming clinic or a local venue that is within walking distance, before considering vehicle transport options.
If services need to use vehicle transport to transport children to take part in the HDC program, services are required to follow NSW regulations in transporting children safely. Services are also encouraged to explore the NSW Department of Education resources on transporting children safely.
To support staff in the HDC program, we encourage services to access the free training available on the HDC program. HDP Grant recipients may spend category 3 grant funds on travel or relief time through practical assistance such as relief teachers and associated costs to attend relevant events (in person or online) to learn about health and development checks and build capacity in supporting children’s developmental needs.
Services are encouraged to use funding to attend the health and development checks workshops and engage with online training modules including to learn to identify children with a potential developmental concern or delay and support their developmental needs.
Services can also use category 3 funds to:
- engage an allied health professional or external organisation to deliver evidence-based staff capacity building that supports staff to address children’s developmental needs identified by the HDC program in 2024
- arrange the delivery of specialised education programs by an external provider such as an allied health professional or non-government organisation to provide upskilling for ECEC educators/teachers and support strategies
- engage a community member to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families’ participation in the HDC Program.
The NSW Department of Education is working in partnership with NSW Health to help approved providers participate in the HDC program in the 2024 calendar year.
Cases of extenuating circumstances which cause a delay to an approved provider’s HDC participation in the 2024 calendar year may be considered on a case-by-case basis by the HDC program team at the NSW Department of Education. If you have any concerns, please contact us at EarlyChildhoodDevelopment@det.nsw.edu.au.
Approved providers are required to provide evidence to the NSW Department of Education by June 2025 that demonstrates how the grant funds have directly supported the services’ participation in the HDC Program in the 2024 calendar year (e.g. through invoices).
Further details of the grant reporting requirements can be found in Section 5.5 of the program guidelines.
The NSW Department of Education recognises that services will need to prepare children and their families for the HDC program.
The department suggests that ECEC services draw upon resources available on the NSW Health website to help inform families and children about what the HDC program will involve.
For more information on free available resources for the HDC program, please email the Early Childhood Development team at EarlyChildhoodDevelopment@det.nsw.edu.au.
Section 5.1 of the program guidelines outlines some restrictions for funding that ECEC services cannot spend their funding for.
Funding cannot be used for:
- regular administration of the ECEC
- sensory toys, trampolines or resources for children under the age of 3 years
- major capital works
- supports already offered by the NSW Sector Capacity Building Program or the Inclusion Support Program
- withdrawing a child from an ECEC group setting to deliver therapy.