Changes for Family Day Care under the NQF

On 1 October 2017, changes were made to the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations which requires services to obtain approval from the Regulatory Authority to operate a family day care service from a venue. Approval can only be provided where the Regulatory Authority considers exceptional circumstances exist (s 50A, s 54[8A]).

The recent National Law changes provide state-based Regulatory Authorities with new discretionary powers, and specific functions regarding FDC services.

The new functions include:

  • A requirement to set a limit on the maximum number of educators per service
  • The authority to set a prescribed Coordinator-to-Educator ratio
  • A requirement for FDC venues to be approved by the Regulatory Authority

The department will make decisions to set a limit on the maximum number of educators per service on a case-by-case basis, considering the specific risk profile of each approved provider/service, including any quality rating and compliance history. Advice about the implementation arrangements for individual services is required to be provided by 1 April 2018.

In New South Wales, the following guidelines apply:

  • For new approved FDC services:
  • A Coordinator-to-educator ratio of 1:15
  • A maximum number of FDC educators of 12
  • For existing FDC services (that do not have a condition limiting the maximum number of educators per service or a prescribed Coordinator-to-educator ratio):
  • A condition requiring a Coordinator-to-educator ratio of 1:15 will apply
  • A condition limiting the maximum number of educators per service will be determined on a case-by-case basis using a risk-based approach.

The department will consider changes to the above conditions, via amendments to FDC service approvals, within the limits of the law, based on the circumstances of each service. This will include considering quality rating, compliance history and any relevant information provided by the approved provider during the specified review period.

Any changes required by individual services are required to be in place by 1 October 2018, to provide time for transition.

All existing FDC services operating from a venue or venues must notify the department by 28 March 2018 as these must now be approved by the department.

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