Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR)
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What is OSCAR?
The term ‘Out of School Care and Recreation’ (OSCAR) refers to before-school, after-school and school-holiday programmes for school-aged children (aged five to 13 years), where the care of a child has been formally handed over from a parent or caregiver to an OSCAR provider.
OSCAR offers children a range of activities and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. For parents, the provision of OSCAR in their community can remove barriers to participation in paid work and training.
OSCAR programmes that are approved as meeting the OSCAR standards can apply for government funding.
Changes to the OSCAR funding system
The Government has announced changes to the grant funding system from 1 July 2013 for OSCAR programmes following a lengthy consultation process with the sector.
The changes aim to spread funding more evenly across the sector and enable the Government to fund more programmes in isolated or low-income communities.
An OSCAR (sector) Steering Group worked with the Social Development Ministry to design the new system.
The outgoing funding system was based on a deficit funding model requiring providers to show they operated at a loss to qualify for ongoing funding. This propped up small and inefficiently- run programmes and prevented new investment in communities with a shortage of services. Under the new system providers will be funded according to the number of children in their programmes and they will need a minimum number of children to get funding.
The changes only affect provider grant funding and there are no changes to the OSCAR subsidies available to eligible parents.
What does the new approach entail for providers?
Providers will be required to have minimum child numbers before receiving on-going base grant funding – a minimum of five for before school services and a minimum of 10 for after school and holiday services.
The changes will:
- remove the requirement for services to forecast that they will operate at a deficit, because this has supported uneconomic programmes – instead, services will have to demonstrate they can be viable before they get on-going funding, and new services not in priority areas will need to operate for a year with a minimum level of attendance.
- introduce a universal base grant according to numbers of children attending the service. This will maintain a network of coverage, to ensure that services are available where parents need them. It will also be a more consistent and transparent way of funding, with lower compliance costs for providers.
- introduce targeted funding for communities that cannot sustain OSCAR without more financial support. This will direct OSCAR funding towards low socio economic and small communities – where there are high numbers of parents leaving benefit for work, and vulnerable children. Transitional funding will be made available to some providers.