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The first steps towards child care accreditation



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Minister for Aged, Family and Health Services Hon. Peter Staples M.P.

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Parliament House, Canberra Phone (06) 277 7220 Fax (06) 273 4146

PS458/91

THE FIRST STEPS TOWARDS CHILD CARE ACCREDITATION

Jane Singleton will head up a national accreditation council in a landmark move to guarantee quality services for children in child care.

The Federal Minister for Aged, Family and Health Services, Peter Staples, today announced the formation and membership of the interim council which will develop and implement an accreditation system for child care centres across Australia.

"These are the first steps in the Federal Government's 1991 Budget promise to introduce an accreditation scheme for child care centres that will ensure children receive care and have access to programs of the highest possible standard," Mr Staples said.

"As the number of children in care outside the home has grown, so has our national responsibility to ensure that these children have access to good quality programs."

Mr Staples said that the council, set up in response to recommendations by the independent Crawford Committee on accreditation in 1990, comprises the expertise of people from many walks of life to ensure the system that is developed has widespread support.

It is made up of representatives of the child care industry, parent groups, training institutions, unions, employer organisations and all levels of government.

Today's announcement of the council membership coincides with the release of a Federal Government report on Accreditation of Early Childhood Services in Australia.

According to the report, a national accreditation system has much to offer Australia's children and their families by ensuring that professional standards of care are implemented and maintained within services.

"The Federal Government accreditation system will go beyond the areas currently addressed by State regulations," Mr Staples said. „ ■ —

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"It will consider the sort of activities children take part in, the interaction between staff and children, and co-operation between staff and parents, all of which are crucial to ensuring high quality care."

He said the system will be linked to fee relief from 1 January 1994.

"By linking the national accreditation system to fee relief, we will, ensure not only that parents will be able to make informed choices about the sort of child care they want, but also that the Australian public get value for money."

The report, prepared by childhood specialist June Wangmann, states that the main function of child care is to provide experiences that are beneficial to the children involved.

It stated good quality early childhood program is one that fosters children's cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development and also supports families in their child rearing role.

"Those aspects of quality directly influencing children's experiences in child care settings, are the focus of accreditation processes," the report stated.

Contact: Howard Conkey (06) 2777 220

OFFICIAL LAUNCH

INTERIM CHILD CARE ACCREDITATION COUNCIL

11.00 AM WEDNESDAY 18 DECEMBER 1991 ROOM 1R1 PARLIAMENT HOUSE