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Great news - Enhancements have been made to the IS Portal!

A quick guide and full guide are available to support you to navigate the exciting changes to the Strategic Inclusion Plan on the IS Portal.

New Resource for Services

There is a Checklist to help services to review their IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator application prior to submission to your IP for endorsement. Please click here to access the Checklist.

Current application processing timeframes for IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator:

The demand for support through the Inclusion Support Program has resulted in an unprecedented high volume of applications being submitted for IDF Subsidy for an Additional Educator. Applications are being assessed in line with the ISP Guidelines, as efficiently as possible, but unfortunately this is currently not within the usual timeframes. Thank you for your patience at this time.

Please go to the Important Information page for further information and updates.

What is Cultural Mentoring?

Cultural Mentoring supports early childhood services to better understand and work with specific cultural groups in their community. It aims to increase the cultural responsiveness of educators and other staff and thereby facilitate greater inclusion for children, their families and communities. Cultural Mentoring can also support services to increase enrollments from specific cultural groups.

Cultural Mentoring can focus on any culture, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

What does a cultural mentor do?

A cultural mentor works with a service (or services) to develop their understanding of the specific cultural group that they are seeking to work with. This usually involves providing information, advice and guidance to educators as well as working alongside educators to support them to implement this knowledge into everyday practice.

The cultural mentor may support educators to plan and implement culturally appropriate learning experiences for children as well as supporting them to establish and develop stronger relationships with families and the local community.

Building a service’s capacity to create connections with the local community is important to ensure the outcomes of the cultural mentoring project continue after the mentor leaves.

Who can be a cultural mentor?

Cultural Mentoring is provided by a mentor who understands, and has a connection to, the specific cultural group that the service is seeking to work with. The cultural mentor may be a member of the local community or someone else with the knowledge, skills and experience to undertake the role who is acceptable to the local community.

Mentors do not require formal qualifications, but applications for Cultural Mentoring support need to provide evidence that the proposed mentor is an appropriate person to undertake the role.

For projects that provide cultural mentoring in relation to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures the mentor must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.

Developing an Innovative Solutions Support Project

Developing and Innovative Solutions Support project, in most cases, requires your service to:

  • Have a current Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP);
  • Complete an application form; and
  • Develop a Project Plan.

Strategic Inclusion Plan requirements for a Cultural Mentoring Project

In general, it is expected that your service will have an up to date Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP), with current Barriers to inclusion identified and Strategies and Actions developed to address the Barriers, in order to apply for Innovative Solutions Support.

Before beginning an application, you should discuss with your Inclusion Professional (IP) whether Innovative Solutions Support is the most appropriate option for your circumstances.

The following resource is designed to help you to develop your project.

Applying for Innovative Solutions Support

There is a separate application form for each type of Innovative Solutions Support Project.

Applications for Innovative Solutions Support can be made at any time and can be for an individual service (or a specific care environment within the service) or a group of services.

With support of your Inclusion Professional, you will be required to complete the relevant application form and, if required, a Project Plan before lodging your application through the Inclusion Support Portal.

Please note, there are two versions of the Cultural Mentoring Application Form. One is for Cultural Mentoring including Bilingual Support, the other is for Cultural Mentoring alone. Please ensure that you are using the correct form.

Project Plan

Developing a Project Plan is an important part of the planning process. Project plans show who will be doing what, and when and how it will be implemented.

An Innovative Solutions Support Project Plan should be developed in consultation with your Inclusion Professional and your chosen Support Provider.

Submitting an application

Services are required to upload their application form and relevant attachments to the IS Portal. Once submitted, each application is sent to the service's Inclusion Professional for endorsement and is then assessed by the Inclusion Development Fund Manager (IDFM).

Application outcomes

If funding is approved

The service will receive an email with a Letter of Offer attached, providing the details of their approved Innovative Solutions Case. This will be sent to the Service Provider email address listed on the SIP. This letter must be signed and returned to the IDF Manager at Once the agreement is executed, payment will be made directly to the service from the Department.

If funding is not approved

The service will receive an email with an Application Declined letter attached. This will be sent to the Service Provider email address listed on the SIP. The outcome of the assessment will be available as an ‘Assessment Outcome’ note on the IS Case.


Services work with their Inclusion Professional to develop a project proposal.

Applying in the funding page for each funding type


Processes for payment and expenditure for Innovative Solutions support funding claims.

Claiming in the funding page for each funding type


Services must report any changes to the approved project.

Change in the funding page for each funding type