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Welcome to CareforKids.com.au A-Z on child care. Below you will find a range of child care related articles, tips and parent guides that we hope you find informative and helpful. Please feel free to browse the list to find one of interest to you.
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Child Care ratios and qualifications for child care

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Child Care ratios and qualifications for child care

 

All parents want to know their child is receiving the best possible care and attention while they are in a child care service. There are many tangible ways to assess the quality of care offered by the service you are considering and our checklist offers some great hints on what to look out for when you are doing your research and centre visits.

You should also be mindful of what your instincts are telling you. If you and your child feel happy with the carers and environment then there is a great chance the child care service will be a good fit for your family.

Under changes brought about by the National Quality Framework the Government is hoping to raise the standard of child care in Australia through new child to carer ratios which are being introduced between now and 2020.

The Government is also introducing new qualifications standards for early childhood educators in the hope that more qualified carers will improve early education outcomes for children.

According to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority the following qualification requirements for educators caring for children will apply:

QUALIFICATIONS

By 1 January 2014
  • Long day care and preschool services providing care to less than 25 children must have access to an early childhood teacher for at least 20 per cent of the time that the service provides education and care.
  • When long day care and preschool services are provided to 25 or more children on any given day, the service must ensure that an early childhood teacher is in attendance for:
    -- six hours on that day (for a service that operates for more than 50 hours per week) or
    -- 60 percent of the operating hours (for a service that operates for 50+ hours per week).

    A service may choose to comply with these requirements by engaging a full-time equivalent early childhood teacher.
  • Within each long day care centre or preschool, half of all educators who are required to meet the relevant educator-to-child ratios will need to have (or be working towards) an approved diploma-level early childhood education and care qualification or above and the remaining educators will all be required to have (or be working towards) an approved Certificate III level early childhood education and care qualification or equivalent.
  • All family day care coordinators will need to have an approved diploma-level early childhood education and care qualification or above.
  • All family day educators will be required to have (or be working towards) an approved Certificate III level early childhood education and care qualification, or equivalent.
By 1 January 2020:
  • When long day care and preschool services are provided to 60 or more children on any given day, the service must ensure that a second early childhood teacher is in attendance for:
    -- three hours on that day (for a service that operates for 50+ hours per week) or
    -- 30 percent of the operating hours (for a service that operates for 50+ hours per week)

    A service may choose to comply with these requirements by engaging a second early childhood teacher for half of the full-time equivalent hours at the service.
  • When long day care and preschool services are provided to 80 or more children on any given day the service must ensure that a second early childhood teacher is in attendance for:
    -- six hours on that day (for a service that operates for 50+ hours per week) or
    -- 60 percent of the operating hours (for a service that operates for 50+ hours per week)

A service may choose to comply with these requirements by engaging a second full-time equivalent early childhood teacher.

Educator to Child Ratios
Under the new National Quality Standard educators will have fewer children to care for. There has been a lot of media attention about this recently as some of the changes came into effect in January this year and have forced many child care services to raise their prices due to the costs of hiring more staff to comply with the new regulations.

 Age GroupEducator to Child RatioTimeframe for Compliance
Long Day Care and PreschoolChildren from birth to 24 months1 educator to 4 children1 January 2012
Children over 24 months and less than 36 months of age1 educator to 5 childreną1 January 2016
Children 36 months or over (not including children over preschool age)1 educator to 11 children˛1 January 2016
Mixed agesMust meet the minimum number of educators per age group at all times1 January 2012
Family Day CareMixed age groups1 educator to 7 children with a maximum of four children who are preschool age or under1 January 2014
Outside School Hours CareThe National Quality Standard and ratings system will also apply to Outside School Hours Care but at this stage no changes to educator to child ratios or the qualifications of educators are proposed.
1. An educator to child ratio of 1:4 for children 25 to 35 months will be retained in Victoria where this ratio currently applies, instead of 1:5 under the National Quality Standard

2. An educator to child ratio of 1:10 for children preschool aged and under who are 36 months or over will be retained in New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania where this ratio currently applies, instead of 1:11 under the National Quality Standard. An educator to child ratio of 1:10 for preschool aged children (over 36 months but not over preschool age) will also apply in South Australia in former licensed child care centres and from 1 January 2016 in preschools other than disadvantaged preschools

Further information about the educator to child ratios or qualification requirements can be found on the ACECQA website.

Further Reading
Child Care National Quality Framework and National Quality Standards

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority



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