New childcare standards welcome
CHILDCARE workers have welcomed proposed new national standards for early childhood education and care, but childcare centre operators have concerns over the cost of implementing the scheme.
Among other changes, the new scheme will require childcare workers to be better qualified, and will reduce the number of children being cared for by each worker.
State and territory governments agreed in 2009 to implement a consistent set of requirements by January 2012.
Natasha Lee, centre manager of the Kookaburra Early Learning Centre in Casino, said childcare workers welcomed the proposed changes.
“The changes recognise and acknowledge the high standards with which childcare workers provide care and early education,” she said.
A representative for Child Care NSW, which represents the sector, said the organisation welcomed the national framework, but was concerned the government had not considered the cost to operators and parents of implementing the scheme.
“Anything that increases the quality in childcare is a positive move,” Child Care NSW president Vicki Skoulogenis said.
“The problems we foresee is that the government has not costed the implementation of the scheme
“If costs are borne by the service, that will have to be passed on to parents, and we do not believe parents should have to pay for it.”
Child Care NSW estimated the cost of implementing the changes at between $9 and $33 per child, per day.
“Families want optimal care and that is why the government is investing to raise the quality of childcare and put in place nationally consistent standards for the first time,” federal Page MP Janelle Saffin said.
Ms Saffin rejected reports childcare workers could be fined $50,000 for sending a child to the naughty corner under the new scheme.
“The suggestion is ridiculous and plain wrong,” she said.
“These are draft regulations and the government is consulting widely with parents, the sector and the community.”