Education Support Funding Program (ESFP)



The Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services (Child Safety) provides the Department of Education (DoE) with targeted funding for the Education Support Funding Program (ESFP) to enhance the learning, wellbeing and educational outcomes for eligible students in care to assist with closing the educational gap between these students and their same age peers.

All students in care are required to have an Education Support Plan (ESP) completed at least every 12 months.

For every region, except the Metropolitan North Region (MNR), a completed ESP is required to apply for ESFP funding. An ESP identifies a student in care’s educational goals and the strategies and resources needed to assist the student to achieve these goals.

Assistance under the ESFP must be linked to the goals identified in the student’s ESP and should be based upon an assessment of the student’s educational needs and participation in educational activities. In the first instance, schools should exhaust all other available DoE resources to support the academic, social and emotional needs of students in care.

Program r​​eform

The Supporting Students in Care program is currently undergoing significant reform as a result of a number of system-wide recommendations identified by the department’s Internal Audit and Internal Review teams. In Semester 1 2024, MNR will pilot a revised ESFP model and therefore, some of the program specifications and requirements outlined in this appropriation profile do not apply to MNR.​

Duration of program

Ongoing in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between DoE and Child Safety. The MoU is available for departmental staff on OnePortal.


For every region except MNR, a student is eligible for funding support through the ESFP when they meet the ESP eligibility criteria, have a completed ESP and the resources required to support the educational goals are not available in the school or via other funding sources. Activities funded are considered to be an enhancement and not a replacement for existing resourcing entitlements that can be obtained through school programs and resources.

For MNR, a student in care is eligible for funding support through the ESFP when they meet the ESP eligibility criteria (subject to the ESFP budget).

Note: While all students in care must have an ESP, not all students who have an ESP will require financial support through the ESFP.

Expenditure guidelines​

Schools should follow the processes set out in the Supporting Students in Care guidelines. More information is available for departmental staff on OnePortal.

ESFP funds are provided to schools as revenue under cost centre 1017 and must be expended under expenditure cost centre 2015. Regular monitoring of these cost centre’s is carried out by central and regional offices.

Allocation of funds

A component of the ESFP funding is used by DoE central office to provide program management support. In addition, ESFP funds are held by central office for a dedicated AO7 Principal Education Officer, Student in Care, position for each DoE region. An administration levy (up to 7% of the regional allocation) can be used by regions to support the management of the program and the development and implementation of improved data collection and reporting systems to meet the MoU reporting requirements.

As per the Supporting Students in Care guidelines and in accordance with the MoU, DoE regions and schools are responsible for ensuring all ESFP funding applications and funding issued is directly linked to a student’s (or group of students’) ESP. Regions are also responsible for monitoring school usage of ESFP funds to confirm the expenditure aligns with ESPs.

ESFP funding can only be used on services or resources that directly enhance the learning and wellbeing for students in care as well as maximise learning days. When ESFP is spent on a group of students from multiple schools, the regional office is responsible for tracking the expenditure and maintaining clearly identifiable records of all expenses and recording all relevant approvals (e.g. from Child Safety) in line with the department’s information asset and recordkeeping procedure.

ESFP can be used to support the following.

  • Individual students: when it is identified through the ESP process that the student’s education and support needs cannot be met within the school’s existing resources or through other available resources, schools can make an application to their regional office for student level funding.
  • Groups of students: ESFP funding allocated to individual students can be pooled and a resource and/or program could be considered for more than 1 student in care. This could include a group of students from
    • 1 school (group funding)
    • multiple schools within 1 region (cluster funding).
  • Regional programs (which are targeted to improve outcomes for students in care)
    • may involve a program that is coordinated from regional office and involves students across multiple school precincts.

Paym​​ent details

Payment timelines and proportions will change from year to year based on the school calendar and how each region assesses funding applications from schools.

Contingency funding is assessed and paid on an ad-hoc basis.

Data requirem​ents

Student in care data is collected through OneSchool and is used for corporate reporting purposes and determines ESFP funding allocations to regions. OneSchool is also used for recording relevant information relating to ESFP funding such as ESFP approvals, invoices, receipts and delivery dockets etc. These records are saved as attachments to the ESP. Instructions for departmental staff on how to upload funding documents are available in OneSchool Help.

Additionally, the MoU provides for exchange of data and information in relation to students in care. A bi-annual data exchange is currently conducted by DoE and Child Safety central offices. OneSchool and Child Safety data is exchanged, interrogated and any anomalies are provided to the regions (in both agencies) to follow up. This involves regional staff contacting schools and updating/amending student profiles as required.

Collection t​imeframes​
Data requirements as specified in the Memorandum of Understanding with Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services

Regional and central office data collection


Recoupme​​nt process

In the event that E​SFP funds cannot be spent by a school on the identified student in care as per the ESFP application, the regional office will recoup these funds and re-distribute them to ensure funding is spent equitably for students in care and in accordance with the MoU.

ESFP funding methodology

Contingency funding

  • All DoE regional offices hold a portion of the ESFP funding for unanticipated needs such as assisting students for intensive support for short periods of time.
  • This funding reserve is application based, discretionary and dependent on available funding.

​Central Queensland regio​​​n

  • Schools prepare individual education support plans for eligible students.
  • Schools then submit a request for funding to the regional office by set dates.
  • Submissions are considered according to individual needs by Education Support Funding Program Committee for students in care, a group consisting of representatives from DoE and Child Safety.
  • Funds are allocated in 2 major funding rounds: Semester 1 and Semester 2, with 2 minor rounds for terms 2 and 4.
  • Funding amounts are determined based on the identified resourcing needs in the education support plan and subject to budget availability.
  • Some funding is held by the region to manage the program outcomes.
  • A proportion of the budget is held as contingency funding which can be applied for at any time during the year for emergent issues.

Darling Downs Sout​​h West region

  • An ESFP application is not used in this region.
  • All students in care receive a nominal amount of funds.
  • The remaining funds are distributed using a regional assessment tool.
  • Schools submit a Darling Downs Sout​​h West (DDSW) Education Support Funding Program assessment tool to the regional office which is then used to determine funding. The tool assigns a score to a number of student characteristics which then creates an overall score and places the student against a support/vulnerability tier (based on their score). These include
    • Tier 1: provides targeted support and adjustments in some areas
    • Tier 2: provides intensive support and adjustments in most areas
    • Tier 3: provides individualised support and adjustments across all areas. Tier 3 is the highest-level funding.
  • Funds are allocated in 2 funding rounds—in Semester 1 (20 weeks) and Semester 2 (20 weeks).

Far North Queensland regi​​on

  • Schools submit an application for ESFP funding (along with the ESP) to the regional office.
  • Funds are allocated in 2 major funding rounds in Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Metropolitan South​ region

  • Schools submit an application for ESFP funding (along with the ESP) to the regional office.
  • Submissions are considered according to individual educational needs by the Regional Working Party for students in care—a group consisting of representatives from DoE and Child Safety.
  • Allocated funding is an enhancement to, and not a replacement for, existing programs, services or resourcing available to any student at a state school.
  • Funding allocations are very specific and each school receives notification outlining funding details for each student, what the funds have been approved for and the conditions of the allocation.
  • Funds are allocated in 2 major funding rounds
    • Semester 1: March with funding for 20 weeks
    • Semester 2: September with funding for 20 weeks.
  • Emergent/contingency funding is available outside this time for short-term or unexpected needs or for students new to Metropolitan South​ region (MSR) schools or newly placed in care.
  • ESFP may be used to implement regional or school-based strategies aimed at closing the educational gap between students in care and other students.
  • There will be regular monitoring and reporting of these funds. Recoupments will be actioned as required.

North C​​​oast region

  • An ESFP application is not used in this region.
  • The North C​​​oast region's (NCR's) ESFP methodology utilises a school-based assessment of a student’s needs using OneSchool data in conjunction with their ESP.
  • Weightings are based on a number of domains and their measure is determined by a regional assessment tool. Information collected about these domains is used to determine the relevant tier allocation for each eligible student. Tier levels include
    • Tier 1 – School resourced: Universal supports and resources within the school are sufficient to meet the student’s needs
    • Tier 2 – Enhanced support: Targeted support provided across a number of domains
    • Tier 3 – Intensive support: Intensive support provided across all domains.
  • Funding allocation of Tiers 2–3 will be dependent upon the number of approved funding applications in each tier and ESFP funds available.
  • ESFP funding approvals are delivered in 2 major funding rounds
    • Semester 1: March with funding for 20 weeks
    • Semester 2: September with funding for 20 weeks.
  • After the expenditure of ESFP funds, the school's ESFP key contact must complete an outcomes report.

North Queen​​sland region

  • Schools submit an application for ESFP funding (along with the ESP) to the regional office.
  • Funds are allocated in 2 major funding rounds—at the beginning of Semester 2 (25 weeks, includes 5 weeks of the next calendar year) and Semester 1 (15 weeks).

South E​ast region

  • Schools can access targeted ESFP funds for eligible students in care.
  • Submissions are made by schools to the South East Region Office (SERO) with evidence that each student has a current ESP and an eligible Child Protection Order.
  • Funding requests are based on students’ individual goals as outlined in their ESP.
  • Funds are allocated in 2 funding rounds each financial year—Semester 2 (25 weeks) and Semester 1 (15 weeks). At the beginning of each semester, SERO will advise schools when the funding round will be opened.
  • Applications received are considered by the SERO Education Support Funding Committee, which comprises of primary and secondary principals, regional representatives, senior guidance officers and a Child Safety representative.
  • Once all applications have been considered by the panel, an outcome email will be sent to principals and the nominated school ESFP contacts, which will list individual student names and the total amount of funding that has been allocated to each student. This outcome email will also list the conditions of the grant including expenditure of funds by 30 June.
  • At the end of each financial year, SERO will conduct an acquittal process for unexpended ESFP funds. In accordance with the MoU, SERO will then negotiate with Child Safety the best use of any recouped funds to improve eligible students’ outcomes.
  • Emergent/contingency funding is available outside of a funding round for the provision of short-term intensive support for emergent and/or unanticipated needs. ESFP funding may be used to implement regional or school-based strategies aimed at closing the educational gap between students in care and other students.

Metropolitan North r​egion – 2024 pilot program

  • An ESFP application is not used in this region.
  • Individual student level funding is distributed from central office and paid directly to schools each term based on an assessment of priority and is subject to budget availability.
  • As part of the funding process, the Metropolitan North regional office will be provided with a funding report each term, indicating which students and schools received funding for monitoring and review.
  • Upon receiving ESFP funding, schools should review any existing ESPs and update accordingly to reflect how the funding will be used to support the specific educational needs of the student

How to apply

Access to funding under this program will depend on the specific regional funding allocation models. Please contact your local regional office for further information.

Further information​​​

For further information in relation to ESP eligibility and students in care, departmental staff can search for 'supporting students in care' on OnePortal.


Central Queensland
Phone: (07) 4842 8300

Darling Downs and South West
Phone: (07) 4616 3771

Far North Queensland
Phone: (07) 4037 3822

Metropolitan North
Phone: (07) 3634 0574

Metropolitan South
Phone: (07) 3028 8015

North Coast
Phone: (07) 5352 9245

North Queensland
Phone: (07) 4758 3222

South East
Phone: (07) 5656 6688

Last updated 19 December 2023