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Innovative Solutions Support is one funding stream available through the Inclusion Support Program. It supports services to implement flexible and tailored solutions to identified barriers to inclusion that goes beyond the scope of Inclusion Agencies to provide. These solutions typically involve the support of an external provider to develop educator and service capacity to be inclusive.

From June to December 2023, the IDF will be piloting a new application process for Innovative Solutions Support. These changes will streamline the process making it easier to apply.

Each project type has a project guide that provides further information on each project type.  There is also an application guide which outlines what is required on the Application Form.  These documents are available on the IDFM website.


What is Innovative Solutions Support?

Unlike the other IDF funding streams (Additional Educator, Immediate/Time Limited and Family Day Care Top Up), Innovative Solutions Support projects do not provide support in the form of an additional educator (or, in the case of Family Day Care Top Up, a top up payment). Innovative Solutions Support enables services to implement other solutions to their barriers to inclusion and develop a service’s capacity and capability to include children with additional needs.

While there is no national definition of “additional needs”, for the purposes of Innovative Solutions Support, additional needs may arise for children who:

  • have a disability or developmental delay
  • are presenting with challenging behaviour
  • have a serious medical or health condition, including mental health
  • are presenting with trauma-related behaviours.

Meeting the needs and requirements of:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
  • children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • children from refugee or humanitarian backgrounds

may also require specific considerations, such as cultural support, to ensure that these children are able to participate fully in ECEC services and experience positive outcomes.

Innovative Solutions Support Projects are individualised and are developed on a case-by-case basis in response to the specific inclusion barriers identified by a service.  Projects typically involve the engagement of an external support provider who has relevant skills, experience, and qualifications in relation to the identified inclusion barriers and is able to support the development of the service’s inclusion capacity.

Innovative Solutions Support projects typically fall into 4 broad project types:

  • Bilingual Support
  • Cultural Mentoring
  • Specialised Training and Advice
  • Guided Practice
  • Unique Projects

The Project Guide section of this application guide provides further details about the types of projects that can be considered for funding.  Services, in collaboration with their IP, should determine the most suitable project type to address their identified barriers to inclusion.


Developing an Innovative Solutions Support Project

Innovative Solutions Support projects are most effective when the relevant barriers to inclusion are clearly identified and the proposed solutions and outcomes are clearly aligned to and flow from these barriers. When solutions are not clearly aligned to identified barriers, or when outcomes are not clear, projects are less effective.

The following process will support the development of an effective project plan.


The Inclusion Professional’s Role

Inclusion Professionals (IPs) play a vital role in supporting services to access and implement Innovative Solutions Support and successful Innovative Solutions projects typically involve close collaboration between a service, their IP, and the chosen support provider for a project.

IPs are able to provide information about Innovative Solutions Support and to help services to identify barriers to inclusion. They also work with services to identify potential solutions and outcomes to these barriers and to help them articulate and document what they plan to do.

IPs play an important role in helping services to identify and work with potential support providers and in liaising with the IDFM when required. IPs are also required to provide an endorsement of each application before it is submitted to the IDFM for assessment.

To find out more visit the IDFM website or talk to your Inclusion Professional.

IDFM website




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