Most parents considering child care focus on finding a service which provides the best possible care. There are a number of informal ways to judge whether a service is providing quality care, you can visit and check for yourself, you can talk to other parents and you can question the director and the staff of the centres or service you are considering. Background research like this should help you narrow down your options.
The Federal Government is responsible for ensuring children receive high quality care, including positive learning experiences, varied and interesting programs, a safe and secure environment and good relationships between children, their families and their carers.
Since 1993 the National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC) has been responsible for ensuring child care services meet the quality standards necessary to maintain their accreditation.
However as a result of changes brought into effect by the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care this will no longer be the case.
As of 1 January 2012 the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) will work with State and Territory Governments and the early childhood sector to implement the National Quality Framework.
The National Quality Framework includes:
- a national legislative framework that consists of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 and Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011
- a National Quality Standard
- an assessment and rating system
- a Regulatory Authority in each State and Territory who will have primary responsibility for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their jurisdiction in accordance with the national legislative framework and in relation to the National Quality Standard.
ACECQA will also be responsible for ensuring the consistent application of the new National Quality Standards and for working with services to meet and maintain those quality standards.For more information about ACECQA and its functions go to www.acecqa.gov.au