July 2010  

Are We Heading In The Right Direction?
By Gwynn Bridge
President - Australian Childcare Alliance

Gwen Bridge"There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction"
Winston Churchill.

So often the instigators of change have a vision of the outcome but fail to identify the unintended consequences that can cause hardship and pain to many others during the unfolding of the vision.

We are now confronted with enormous legislative and operational transformation of the Australian child care sector and the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) cannot agree that this is "in the right direction". We see children in their most important early years as the losers in the process of implementing the National Quality Agenda (NQA) throughout Australia.

From 1 July 2010 child care operators and directors are faced with implementing changes that signify the commencement of a considerable paradigm shift in the delivery and operation of child care services in Australia. Unfortunately, through what appears to have been an unintended consequence or at worse denial of the outcomes, the increases in quality determined by the National Quality Agenda will absolutely adversely affect affordability for our families and their children.

Each state and territory faces different challenges when implementing the National Quality Agenda. Some states/territories will need to increase the qualification standard of most of their staff; others will have to increase staff numbers or reduce licensed capacity; some will have no choice but to reduce licensed capacity; all centres with more than 25 children in attendance must employ an early childhood teacher. These changes are to be phased in from 1 January 2012 to 1 January 2014.

» Read the full article…

LHMU Opinion Piece -
Early Childhood Wages

Key to delivering quality and continuity

Big Steps in ChildcareA major reform agenda is playing out in the early childhood field prompted by growing community awareness of the importance of the early learning years to lifelong learning and social wellbeing. The federal government has instigated a major overhaul of quality drivers in the sector with a focus on both structural and process elements.

Changes to ratios will make a big difference to workers' capacity in the sector to deliver a meaningful play based approach to learning and care. But the real impact of reform will only be realised through workforce changes focused on skills and retention and key to both is what workers earn in the sector.

Currently most people working in long day care are paid according to a legal instrument called an award. The award sets out minimum wages and conditions. Historically there have been a number, some 15 awards, operating across the sector but this year these have been replaced by two awards the Children's Services Award 2010 and the Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010 as part of the federal government's creation of a modern award framework.

The new awards will be phased in over a transition period of 5 years. The minimum rates in the new award are set out below but these vary substantially across the country depending on historical award practice. These rates are those applying from the July 1 Annual Wage Review. Wages for an unqualified child care worker at entry level start at $15.34, a qualified worker with a Certificate III has a minimum entry level rate of $17.46 an hour, a Director of a Centre has a minimum entry level of $24.80 per hour, and an Early Childhood Teacher has a minimum entry level of $20.83 per hour.

» Read the full article…

Funding for Family Day Carers
Cash Bonus for professional development, training & educational equipment

Family Day Care Funding12,500 family day carers across the country are set to receive a one-off payment of $350 to be used for professional development, training or to purchase new play or educational equipment.

Minister for Early Childhood Education and Child Care, Ms Kate Ellis, said the grants would help family day carers build on their capability to provide high quality care.

"Family day care provides a unique and natural early learning environment for children. We are committed to supporting the family day care sector to deliver quality care to the 100,000 Australian children who they care for each day," Ms Ellis said.

The Government is partnering with Family Day Care Australia to deliver the grant, which will be distributed to carers over the coming months.

This funding will also assist Family Day Care Australia to implement its Five Year Plan, which aims to develop a highly professional and educated family day care workforce through the provision of training opportunities.

More information about the Family Day Care One-off Capability Grant is available at the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website or the Family Day Care Australia website.

In-Need Child Care Centres
Receive vital upgrades

190 child care centres in disadvantaged areas across Australia will receive grants of $20,000 to upgrade their facilities and improve quality.

The Minister for Early Childhood Education and Child Care, Kate Ellis said the handouts would start this month and could be used for a range of operational purposes including minor capital improvements or for the purchase of new equipment and toys.

According to the Government, providers will be able to decide where to invest the funds provided they achieve the greatest possible educational outcomes for the children attending their centre and are in-line with the national quality agenda.

For more information about the Long Day Care Areas of Need One-Off Grant visit the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website

Update on CCB Over Advances
By the Community Child Care Co-operative

Has your service received a letter from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) about over advances of Child Care Benefit (CCB) quarterly advance payments which occurred when you transitioned to the Child Care Management System (CCMS)? The Community Child Care Co-operative is aware that some services are concerned about this letter.

Why the debt?
Prior to the introduction of the CCMS, CCB fee reduction was provided quarterly in advance to services. You then were required to provide statements of families' child care usage to the Family Assistance Office (FAO) and any overpayments or underpayments were recovered from subsequent quarterly advances. 

When services transitioned to CCMS there were no longer quarterly advance payments which could be used to acquit over advances from previous quarterly payments.  As such, services who received over advances from their last quarterly payments under the old system, owe money to the Commonwealth. As many services transitioned at the beginning of the year when numbers are often down, some services may owe significant amounts.

How do you pay it back?

» Read the full article…

Karen Jones
Director - ABC Mt Warren Boulevard Early Learning Centre QLD

Child care professionals share a commitment to improving society by creating dynamic and nurturing care environments for Australia's youngest learners.

Read this month's Child Care Person in the spotlight Karen Jones Director ABC Mt Warren Boulevard Early Learning Centre QLD.

» Read the interview…

If you or someone you know deserves to be featured in this section drop us a line at

Each child care person we profile will receive a copy of Play School Collection (3 DVD set) for their service.

Courtesy of ABC Kids and Roadshow Entertainment.

Positive Anti-Bullying Strategies
A clear path through the maze

We are delighted to present the third and final installment in our series of articles about preventing bullying behaviours in the early childhood education sector by the Director of Break Through Bullying Melissa Graham.

Can bullying be stopped? This is a question often asked by carers and teachers who are looking for solutions to the problem of bullying in educational settings. Having a clear understanding of what bullying is and being able to identify bullying behaviours, allows us as educators to acknowledge the frequency of bullying incidents.

An anti-bullying or positive guidance policy document can give definitions and guidelines about an organisation's procedures for dealing with bullying when it is identified. By promoting positive behaviours and teaching anti-bullying strategies that can help our children to stand up for themselves in difficult situations, shows a proactive approach with a vision to reduce incidents of bullying in child care facilities and schools.

Research shows that (bullying) interventions are much more successful when they are carried out among young children in preschools and primary schools.
This is a good reason to begin with this age group

The earlier that bullying interventions are taught to young children, the more successful these can be. It is important that we acknowledge this research finding and implement positive anti-bullying strategies sooner rather than later.

» Read the full article…

Meningococcal Disease
Recognising the signs

A number of recent media reports have highlighted the importance of staying vigilant about meningococcal disease.

While a successful vaccine is available for the meningococcal C strain there is no effective vaccine for the B strain and it is estimated that between five and 25 per cent of people carry meningococcal bacteria in their nose and throat without being ill or showing any symptoms.

Babies and children up to the age of five are at increased risk of contracting meningococcal disease due to their less mature immune system, their tendency to put things in their mouth and their tendency to play close together and share food, drinks and toys. 

In fact this group accounts for two thirds of the reported cases of meningococcal disease in Australia according to Meningococcal Australia Inc.

While this disease is rare, it is worthwhile ensuring that you and your staff can recognise the signs of meningococcal disease and know how to act.

» Read the full article…

National Long Day Care Conference
Combining education & care

The 2010 National Long Day Care Conference - 'Combining Education & Care' will highlight the importance of the early years and embracing the National Quality Agenda reforms.

The conference is expected to attract delegates from all over Australia, including childcare centre owners, licencees, directors, childcare centre staff, prospective owners and other key industry stakeholders.

Friday 30th July to Sunday 1st August 2010
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, Gold Coast

» More details…

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Latest Events
Roxanne Elliott

Hello everyone and welcome to the July edition of Child Care News.

With so much change facing the child care sector right now we thought it would be interesting to gain some feedback from key industry experts. President of the Australian Childcare Alliance Ms Gwynn Bridge offers her opinion on the legislative reforms in an article which expresses concern about the rate and extent of the change facing child care professionals. Ms Bridge's powerful arguments make compelling reading.

The child care workers union, the LHMU, has also submitted an article on the importance of ensuring child care professionals receive pay which reflects their experience and dedication.

We have the third installment from Melissa Graham from Break Through Bullying on key strategies for preventing and managing bullying incidents in the early childhood learning environment.

You'll also meet Karen Jones Director of the ABC Mt Warren Boulevard Early Learning Centre in Queensland. Karen's energetic approach to the running of her centre has fostered a positive learning environment which embraces multiculturalism.

All this and way way more, so read on! As usual please do drop me a line if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, we always appreciate your feedback.

Until next time, happy reading.

Roxanne Elliott®

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