Making Friends With The Laws and Regs That Govern Early Childhood Education

educator tips family day care national law personal responsibility regs Sep 29, 2022

Did you know, your actions have the potential to affect not only you, but also every educator within your service (and Australia!). In your position, it is your responsibility to have an understanding and knowledge of the regulations. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know them off by heart. You do, however, do need to know how to at least access them quickly and navigate them.

If you find yourself in breach of a regulation, “I didn’t know” will not protect you. Another thing to be aware of; if you breach a regulation and are found to be responsible (NOT your service), you will be the one copping the fine. Some of these fines are an eye-watering amount. E.g. The penalty for these offences is $10,000 each!

 

165 Offence to inadequately supervise children

(3) A family day care educator must ensure that any child being educated and cared for by the educator as a part of a family day care service is adequately supervised.

Penalty: $10 000.

Source: Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010.

 

167 Offence relating to protection of children from harm and hazards

(3) A family day care educator must ensure that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect a child being educated and cared for as part of a family day care service from harm and from any hazard likely to cause injury.

Penalty: $10 000.

Source: Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010.

 

In some circumstances, your service may be the one that must pay the fine. This is why some service’s policies and procedures might err on the side of caution and go a bit beyond what is required from the Law and Regs. Sometimes, your services policies will reflect their direct experiences with previous educators. E.g. A service may have a very conservative excursion policy after a prior incident in care.

In consideration of the current Laws and Regs (and while remaining respectful and professional!), we believe that it is okay to question your service about their existing policies and where they may have some flexibility moving forward. In saying that, make sure you do your homework before speaking with your service, so you are coming to the table with a reasonable and viable solution.

“The children never do that” = “the children haven’t done that yet”.

 Always consider the risk, the impacts and outcomes and what accidents can be prevented in your FDC. There's always going to be a time, and Murphy’s Law says that it'll be that one time when things aren't in place!

 

Tips for getting started… 

🌸 Access the Law and Regulations documents on your computer for the best reading experience – the navigation is a lot easier than on a phone. You can access an overview/navigation panel which includes links on the top left of your screen. 

🌸 Make the regulations a bit more digestible by recognising that not the whole document will apply to you. Part 6 – Operating an Education and Care Service is a great place to start, as there are a lot of things that are applicable to FDC educators. 

🌸 The more often you read and refer to the regs, the easier they become to understand in the context of your family day care. Ask your service for help if there are aspects you don’t understand.

🌸 Refer to the regulations AND Kidsafe recommendations when completing risk assessments to ensure you are being thorough. 

🌸 Have fun, offer the children fun experiences, AND protect yourself for when things go wrong.

 


Links:

https://www.acecqa.gov.au/nqf/national-law-regulations