VICTORIA FIRST STATE TO LEGISLATE A NATIONAL APPROACH ENSURING A BETTER DEAL FOR CHILDREN

VICTORIA FIRST STATE TO LEGISLATE A NATIONAL APPROACH ENSURING A BETTER DEAL FOR CHILDREN

Posted on 02. Sep, 2010 in Victoria

The Brumby Labor Government has introduced legislation that will provide for a National Quality Framework (NQF) for early childhood education and care.

Introduced to Parliament today, Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Maxine Morand said the legislation would establish a national approach to regulation and assessment of children’s services, replacing existing licensing and quality assurance processes.

“This legislation is a commonsense approach, introducing national consistency for children’s services,” Ms Morand said.

“At a time when more children are spending more time in education and care services, including long day care, it is vital that these services are of a consistently high standard.

“It has been identified in numerous studies that children who have positive early childhood experiences in stimulating, nurturing environments have better outcomes.

“Services across Victoria are already doing a great job but the new regulations which will sit under this legislation will ensure better information for parents, less red tape for services and consistently high standards of care.

“I am proud that our Government is leading the development of this National Framework.

“Under a new ratings and assessment system, all services will be assessed and given a rating against seven quality areas within the National Quality Standard and an overall rating.

“These ratings will be published, providing parents and the community with more information on the quality of services.”

Ms Morand said the seven quality areas were:

  • Educational programs and practice taking into account each child’s strengths, capabilities, interests and experience;
  • Children’s health and safety;
  • Physical environment;
  • Staffing arrangements including minimum educator to child ratios and qualifications;
  • Relationships with children;
  • Collaborative partnerships with families and communities; and
  • Leadership and service management

 

Ms Morand said the NQF would apply to long day care, family day care, kindergarten/pre-school and outside school hours care services and provided powers to improve child to staff ratios and minimum qualification requirements for childcare staff.

“More than 400 scholarships have already been awarded under the Brumby Labor Government’s early childhood workforce strategy,” she said.

“These scholarships are helping to attract new staff and to assist existing staff upgrade their qualifications to prepare for the new quality standards.”

Ms Morand said the new legislation would also help reduce red tape for service providers by removing duplication from previous National, State and Territory accreditation and regulatory regimes.

“For example, under current legislation a service provider operating a long day care and occasional care service from the same premises requires separate approvals for each service but under this legislation that duplication can be removed,” she said.

Ms Morand said Victoria had drafted the legislation with cooperation from every State and Territory and would be progressively introduced across Australia with the aim to have it operational by January 2012.

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