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Significant Changes to the Child Care Accreditation Process
Following on from my previous blog regarding the major changes within Australia for the child care sector, the National Childcare Accreditation Council announced some significant changes to the accreditation process in a media release.
It stated that…
“On 21 October 2009, at the National Child Care Accreditation Council (NCAC) Annual General Meeting, Board Chairperson June McLoughlin announced two significant changes to the Child Care Quality Assurance systems administered by NCAC.”
From 1 November 2009:
• All validation visits will take place on a set date, scheduled in advance by NCAC, and
• Validation Surveys for families will no longer be distributed as part of the Accreditation process.
In making these changes, NCAC has considered feedback from the child care profession.
MsMcLoughlin stated that “NCAC is delighted to implement changes that recognise the need for professional dialogue between services and Validators, as well as being able to remove a substantial administrative burden for services.”
These changes are supported by the Government because they are in line with the reforms being developed as part of the new quality agenda. They are also recommended in the Productivity Commission’s Annual Review of Regulatory Burdens on Business released in September 2009.
Change to Validation Visits
Previously, Validation Visits were unannounced and services were advised of a six week timeframe but not the date(s) of the Validation Visit.
MsMcLoughlin said, “By providing the Validation Visit date, services can ensure that the director or other day staff members are present to meet with the Validator.”
“Knowing the Validation Visit date will also help services when planning staff leave, professional development and other major events.”
“Evidence from Spot Checks suggests that most services maintain the standard required for accreditation between visits, indicating that there is no longer the need for two unannounced visits to services” advised MsMcLoughlin.
Unannounced Spot Checks will continue to play a vital role in Child Care Quality Assurance. Accredited child care services are randomly selected to undergo unannounced Spot Checks which could occur at any time.
Removal of Family Surveys
“Services have been responsible for copying, distributing and collecting surveys to families as part of the accreditation process.” said MsMcLoughlin.
“Removing this administrative process for services will save time and resources that can be better spent communicating with families, planning for children and providing quality child care.”
Families remain an important partner in the Child Care Quality Assurance systems and these changes will not restrict opportunities for families to provide feedback about the quality of care provided at their child care service.
A new online poll has been placed on the NCAC website to gather feedback from families searching for child care. This will be expanded upon to solicit more feedback in the future.
As a result of these accreditation changes, we can only look forward to better quality care for our country’s most precious commodity – our children..
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