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Thursday, 13 September 2007
Page: 196

Senator Allison asked the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 21 June 2007:

(1)   What was the justification for the removal of the tiered rating system for the Child Care Quality Assurance System and its replacement with a pass-or-fail system.

(2)   How will this change contribute to continuous improvement of child care services.

(3)   What is the timeline for finalising the Integrated Child Care Assurance Standards.

(4) (a)   Can a list be provided of any groups that have provided responses or feedback to the ‘Integrated Child Care Quality Assurance (CCQA) Draft Standards for Discussion’ paper; and (b) are these responses publicly available; if not, why not.

(5)   What is the process for responding to groups that have provided feedback on the paper.

Senator Scullion (Minister for Community Services) —The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   The Government wants to ensure that all childcare services approved for Child Care Benefit (CCB) purposes meet agreed quality standards. The development of an integrated Child Care Accreditation System (CCAS) has included setting standards of quality that all services must meet in order to be accredited. A single system will apply which is simpler and less administratively onerous, less prescriptive with a greater focus on achieving desired outcomes than on meeting a number of detailed processes. It will provide families with confidence that children receive quality childcare when they attend an accredited service and it does not matter if it is in a Long Day Care, Family Day Care or Outside of School Hours Care setting.

(2)   Continuous improvement is currently listed as a principle in the revised draft standards for the integrated Child Care Accreditation System and services must demonstrate continuous improvement.

(3)   The standards for the integrated Child Care Quality Assurance system will be finalised and the date for implementation determined after field testing which is scheduled for September 2007.

(4)   Respondents have not provided consent to release their details or the submissions provided to the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) during the public consultation process. In line with privacy laws permission would need to be sought to make these responses publicly available. However, the National Advisory Group (NAG) comprising representatives from across the sector has provided input and advice throughout the development process. The National Advisory Group consists of representatives from the following child care peak bodies:

  • Early Childhood Australia (ECA);
  • Childcare Associations Australia (CAA);
  • National Association of Community Based Children’s Services (NACBCS);
  • National Alliance of Disability Resource and Training Agencies (NADRATA);
  • Family Day Care Australia (FDC);
  • National Out of School Hours Services Association (NOSHSA);
  • Occasional Child Care Association (OCCA-NA);
  • Secretariat of National & Islander Child Care (SNAICC);
  • National Association of Multicultural Early Childhood Services (NAMECS);
  • National Association of Mobile Services for Rural and Remote Families and Children Inc (NAMS);
  • ABC Learning Centre; and
  • In-Home Care Association (IHC).

   Several of the NAG members provided submissions during the initial round of consultation on the draft standards and some of them circulated their submissions.

   (5)   Individuals and groups who provided comments or feedback on the draft Standards for the integrated Child Care Quality Assurance System received acknowledgement on receipt of their submission via their email address. FaCSIA has continued to provide this group with updates on the development of the system. Comments on the draft standards are due by 3 September 2007.

   In addition, a series of public discussion forums were held in every capital city in July and August 2007 and were attended by approximately 1,200 people. They provided an opportunity for the sector and families to be informed about the development of the CCAS and how the standards are being shaped.