New National Child Care Laws Causing Confusion
Australia (News4us.com) April 06, 2011
Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care, Kate Ellis has set the record straight about the impact of draft child care regulations.
There have been media reports over recent days, which contain inaccurate information about the kinds of activities that will be permitted under new national child care laws, which take effect from 1 January 2012.
“These draft regulations, which were endorsed by federal, state and territory governments on 25 February of this year – do not ban any cultural activities,” Minister Ellis said.
“Easter egg hunts and Christmas tree decorating will go ahead as usual.”
“All that these regulations do is make sure that child care staff, just like teachers in government schools, ensure that children are not made to feel uncomfortable because they are forced to participate in cultural traditions that are not their own.”
Governments are currently consulting widely with parents, the child care sector and the community about the content of these draft regulations.
Ms Ellis said that the suggestion a child care worker could be fined $50,000 for sending a child to the naughty corner, as some newspaper reports have suggested, was both ridiculous and plain wrong.
“We know that it is child care workers and not bureaucrats in Canberra who are best placed to determine what activities – including what kind of discipline – work best for the children in their care,” Ms Ellis said.
“These draft regulations will protect children from inappropriate forms of punishment but still give child care workers the scope flexibility they need to use their own professional judgement and commonsense.”
“When we hear reports of babies having their feet tied together with bed sheets – then it is quite right for governments to step in and make clear that some forms of discipline are inappropriate and potentially harmful to young children.”
In 2009 all Federal, State and Territory Governments signed up to a historic agreement to put in place nationally consistent child care standards for the first time.
These standards include improved staff to child ratios, so children get more individual care and attention and higher qualified staff, so that carers are better equipped to lead children in the activities that help them learn and develop.
By bringing child care centres in all states and territories under the one set of standards and a single accreditation body, these new laws will also cut red tape, so that staff can spend less time filling out paperwork and more time caring for children.
“The more than 800,000 Australian families who use child care each week, deserve to know that their children are safe and well looked after,” Ms Ellis said.
“Statistics show that far too many child care centres are still failing to meet basic standards of safety, hygiene and care.”
“That is why governments at all levels and of all political persuasions, are working together to put in place a strong yet flexible national framework, which will improve the quality of child care across the country.”
For more information on the National Quality Framework or to access a copy of the draft regulations visit: www.deewr.gov.au/childcare
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