The latest child care related news, views and reviews February 27, 2013
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Do you know who has access to your kids in child care? We report on the new Working with Children Checks due to be launched this year and also take a look at Waiting Lists – what's reasonable and what's not.
New working with children checks
Who's got access to your child?

We believe that the safety of our children is paramount, which is why only represents "registered" child care services and nannies / babysitters who have been vetted and safety/police checked through agencies.

The new Working With Children Check will start in NSW in 2013 (date to be advised), which aims to address some of the gaps in terms of vetting who has access to our children with ID checks and processing applications being managed by the RTA.

The NSW Commission for children and young people who maintain the WWCC has postponed the new checks coming into place due to feedback from Care providers. This means there may be some further changes to the proposed new NSW Working with Children check (please see below for contact details if you wish to offer feedback to the Commission).

However, even though child care services themselves may be vetted, many other people who work with children or people working in child care services may not be checked…

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For more on Working With Children Checks and the legal requirements in each state and territory click here.
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Waitlisting – what is ethical practice?

The practice of waitlisting for child care places is one of the banes of parents' lives and certainly makes the child care search more stressful. Parents can easily pay around $60 per centre they register with, and with the necessity to register with multiple centres to ensure the best chance of getting a place; this can be very costly indeed and doesn't guarantee positive results.

Over the last few months we've received a number of emails regarding the practice of waitlisting: What's ethical practise? What is a reasonable fee? What does the fee cover? Should it be refundable? Are there limits to waitlists – can centres just keep putting names down ad infinitum or is there a cap at which they have to close the list?

With a shortage of spaces for the under twos in many inner city suburbs, the practice of waitlisting is all too commonplace. Most centres will charge a fee for putting you on the waiting list and this is fair as it covers the admin charges of managing that waitlist and also with communicating with the parents on it.

However, it seems that sometimes there is no further communication received by the parents to update them of their status. Some parents have even commented on the fact they suspect that services advertise vacancies purely to get parents through the door, then tell them there are no longer any available for what they want, and charge them for the waiting list.

This is extremely unlikely, albeit not impossible. All centres that are "approved" by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) have to report vacancies on a weekly basis, so technically they should not be advertising any vacancies they have not reported to DEEWR.

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