Amendment of the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act
If your service is covered by the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Amendment Act 2018 (NSW) you can access the relevant forms here.
Changes have been made to the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act 2011 and the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Regulation to bring standards into line with those for services regulated under the National Law.
The major changes include:
- application of the state law to mobile and occasional care services only
- discontinuation of home-based care and shopping centre care as approved categories under the Act
- introduction of the requirement for occasional care and mobile services to participate in quality assessment and rating.
The amending legislation was assented on 27 September 2018, and the new legislation replaces previous regulations supporting the state law.
The department is no longer accepting applications for home-based care. Home-based care services have an adjustment period from the date of assent on 27 September 2018 until 31 October 2019. Services may choose to transition and gain approval as a family day care provider or register with an existing family day care service in order to continue operating. Children can continue to enrol in and attend home-based care during the adjustment period.
The amending act commenced together with new regulations from 27 May 2019.
Background for the amendments
The amendments are designed to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of children and to ensure the delivery of high quality early childhood education services.
The new regulations are in accordance with the obligations of the Department of Education as the NSW regulatory authority.
The changes have been made to bring the regulatory standards and requirements for services regulated under the Act into line with those regulated under the national system. The National Quality Framework (NQF) has been progressively updated since 2012 and has established a strong track record in promoting quality.
Home-based and shopping centre care
From 27 September 2018, Home Based Care applications are no longer being accepted by the Department. Existing home based carers have the option to transition to Family Day Care, which provides a viable, flexible and quality service for many working families.
Home based care services will continue to be regulated under the 2012 Regulation until 31 October 2019. After this date, home based care services will be required to cease operation.
Home based care service providers who wish to continue operating must gain approval as a family day care provider or register with an existing family day care provider as a member of a wider network. The Department has allocated funding to provide transition support for home based carers who choose to transition to family day care.
Shopping centre care
Approval for care in shopping centres was introduced in 2011 to cater for an expected increase in applications for services in these settings, but the uptake has been very low. Applicants have instead sought approval as centre-based service providers under the National Law, which has the flexibility sufficient to address any issues that may apply to services at these locations.
The department will now regulate all these services under the same regulatory framework to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children and to ensure the delivery of high quality early childhood education services.
Mobiles and occasional care services
Mobile services provide early learning opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to families with young children who live in very remote and isolated parts of the state. Their business model - which can involve operating from a number of different locations each week – is unique and requires a distinctive regulatory approach.
Similarly, occasional care is based on a distinctive operating model that cannot be readily accommodated within the national system. Occasional care services provide an option for parents who may need incidental short term care for their children – typically in unexpected, one-off or emergency situations. Large parts of the National Law are based on the assumption that children will attend a service on a regular basis, over a sustained period.
Mobile and occasional care services that are funded by the Australian Government are already required to have a Quality Improvement Plan. By aligning the State Law to the National Law, all services in NSW will be required to prepare a Quality Improvement Plan. Participation in assessment and rating will not come into force for six months after commencement of the regulation. This is to allow services time to take stock of their practices and to make any adjustments before they begin the process.
Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have agreed that the national system will continue to focus on the types of services that are relevant to the majority of working families – family day care, long day care and out of school hours care – and that States and Territories should continue to have the option of recognising and regulating other types of services that respond to a particular need in their jurisdiction.
Ongoing regulation under the Supplementary Provisions Act remains the best option for these service types.
Mobiles and occasional care services are required to participate in Assessment and Rating on the same basis as services regulated under the National Law.
An assessment and rating pilot was conducted in 2018, and the Department is building on this to ensure the processes are clear for these new service types.
Assessment and ratings are expected to commence from October 2019 – six months after the commencement of the regulations – to allow services time to prepare.
The process involves each service preparing and implementing a Quality Improvement Plan, with the claims in the Plan and its outcomes assessed by the regulator against a set of benchmarks known as the National Quality Standard. The process is designed to encourage a continuing focus on best practice and leads to an overall quality-rating for the service at one of five levels.
More information about the quality rating process and the rating standards is available from the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority.
Venue Management Plans
The Department recognises that mobile services are a unique service type providing a valuable service particularly to remote and rural communities. Following sector consultations, venue management plans will remain for mobile services, and plans submitted by approved mobile services will be considered on their merits.
Support and advice for services
Services can access support during the transition. This includes face to face, telephone, email and online training to ensure services are comfortable in their knowledge of their requirements under the law, particularly around the Assessment and Rating process.
Home based care services will be provided support to assist them in transitioning to family day care.
The Department will contact relevant services to provide details of the organisations delivering support and advise the next steps.
For any further information please contact the Directorate’s Information and Enquiries area on 1800 619 113 (toll free) and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comment on the changes
The consultation period for feedback on the changes closed on 31 October 2017.