|Policy owner:||General Manager - Children's Services|
|Responsible / contact officer:||Cathy Cahill|
|Effective date:||29th October 2021|
|Review date:||As required|
Enhance Family Day Care has the responsibility of ensuring Family Day Care educators, educator assistants and all persons over the age of 18 residing at the family day care residence are fit and proper persons to be involved in the provision of education and care to young children. Enhance FDC thoroughly assesses and closely monitors Educators (including Educator assistants) and persons residing at the property to ensure the fitness and propriety of all adults. Practice Mentors provide Educators with ongoing professional support, assistance and supervision and maintain accurate records to safeguard children’s safety and wellbeing.
NATIONAL QUALITY STANDARD (NQS)
Quality Area 2: Children’s Health and Safety: 2.2, 2.2.3
Quality Area 4: Staffing Arrangements: 4.1.1
Quality Area 7: Leadership and Governance: 7.1.2
EDUCATION AND CARE SERVICES NATIONAL LAW ACT (2010)
Section 3 (2)(a); 173
EDUCATION AND CARE SERVICES NATIONAL REGULATIONS
84 Awareness of child protection law
119 Family Day Care Educator and Family Day Care Educator assistants to be at least 18 years of age
127 Family Day Care Educator Qualifications
136 First Aid Qualifications
144 Family Day care Educator Assistants
153 Register of family day care Educators, coordinators and Educator Assistants
154 Record of staff, family day care coordinators and family day care Educator Assistants
163 Residents at family day care residence and family day care educator assistants to be fit and proper persons
164 Requirement for notice of new persons at residence
168 Education and care services must have policies and procedures
169 Additional policies and procedures – family day care service
Enhance FDC adheres to the Education and Care Services Regulations and conducts assessments of Educators (including Educator Assistants) and provides comprehensive screening, onboarding and re-registration processes. Whilst adults over 18 residing at an FDC property do not undergo their own onboarding and re-registration, Enhance FDC considers these persons to be part of the onboarding and re-registration of Educators and will consider the ongoing suitability of these persons as part of the process of re-registration. Educator assistants and all persons over the age of 18 who reside at the family day care residence will be required to prove that they are fit and proper persons, are suitably qualified and, for Educator Assistants, hold the relevant emergency care qualifications.
This policy applies to Approved Provider, Children Services Team, Educators, Educator Assistants, adult residents, and visitors of Enhance FDC services.
To ensure the ongoing health, safety and wellbeing of children, Enhance FDC is responsible for assessing a person’s suitability as an Educator or Educator Assistant and must ensure that all persons who work or reside in the premises of an approved Enhance FDC residence are considered to be ‘fit and proper persons’.
We achieve this by:
- Comprehensively screening all applicants for educators and educator assistants
- Ensuring all applicants who are working or residing with children have the required clearances (Blue cards, criminal history checks)
- Annually assess the FDC residence or more frequently in the case of new persons residing at the residence or in the case of an incident or accident
- An assessment process is developed and conducted for all educators and educator assistants to ensure they are considered to be fit and proper persons to care for children prior to registering them in the service and as a rigorous and ongoing assessment process annually (or as required) to re-register
- Enhance Educators and educator assistants provide relevant documentation demonstrating they are a fit and proper person. This includes educators and educator assistants to:
- Provide proof of age
- Have a criminal history check
- Hold a current and verified paid Blue Card
- Hold a current First Aid qualification (including CPR training)
- Have undertaken an approved anaphylaxis management training
- Have undertaken emergency asthma management training
- Hold a current Driver’s License if applicable
- A register of family day care educators, educator assistants and residents over 18 years of age is maintained
- Educators must additionally provide relevant documentation to demonstrate they:
- Have, or are actively working towards, at least an approved Certificate III level and care qualification
- Maintain current public liability insurance
- All Educators, Educator assistants, Practice Mentors and other staff engaged by the service are not only approved to work with children through the Blue Card system but are those who have the right personal qualities, skills and experiences to provide high quality supervision and care to children
- Any person residing at the FDC residence is assessed as, and remain, fit and proper for the service to operate
- Any person over 18 years of age residing at the Family Day Care residence holds a Blue Card
- All FDC educators, Educator assistants and Practice Mentors are over the age of 18 years of age
- Practice Mentors, Educators and Educator Assistants have completed approved child protection training and maintain up-to-date knowledge of child protection law at least annually
- Ensure Educators new to FDC and Enhance FDC are provided with initial support and monitoring during the first months of operation
- Written consent is provided by parents of each child being educated and cared for by the Educator to the use of the family day care Educator assistant in each specific circumstance
- A record of nominated supervisors, Practice Mentors, Educators and Educator Assistants engaged is maintained and kept up to date
- Implementing the grievance procedure or taking disciplinary action in the event of a breach of ‘Code of Conduct’
- Any allegations of Harm or potential harm are swiftly and appropriately responded to
- Children are re-allocated and/or a service is suspended if a person or persons residing in the FDC residence do NOT meet the ‘fit and proper’ assessment
Practice Mentors will provide ongoing assessment of the Educator and Educator Assistant through monitoring and regular visits to Educator's homes.
Practice Mentors will:
- Provide ongoing support and advice to Educators and Educator Assistants when education and care is being provided
- Monitor and supervise Educators and Educator Assistants through a range of methods including:
- Scheduled face-to-face visits to educator’s home, sufficient in number and frequency to ensure quality of care is maintained
- Telephone conversations
- Emails and text messages
- Video Conferencing calls
- Offer professional learning opportunities to Educators, Educator Assistants and other staff involved in the service
- Provide evidence of adequate monitoring and support through use of the FDSee application and reports including acknowledging and reporting any areas of concern and processes put in place to rectify these areas or quality care issues in relation to the NQS to the Children Services Manager
Enhance Educators and Educators Assistants will:
- Ensure all documentation demonstrating they are a fit and proper person is provided to Enhance and kept up to date
- Notify the service of any new person aged 18 years or over who resides or intends to reside at the family day care residence (including overseas or interstate visitors)
- Notify the service of any children residing or intending to reside in the FDC residence who are turning 18 years of age at least 60 days prior to them turning 18
- Notify their Practice Mentor or Children Services Manager immediately if they are aware of any circumstance relating to a person over the age of 18 years who has been previously considered as fit and proper by the provider may no longer be fit and proper to be in the company of children
- Keep a detailed record of all visitors to the family day care residence, including their name, signature, date, time of the visitor’s arrival and departure
- Ensure a child being educated and cared for by the Family Day Care Service is never left alone with a visitor or student
- Provide a risk management plan to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children attending the service if required
- Ensure copies are provided of home insurances, rental agreements, and any other documentation for approval of place of residence to operate a family day care service
Blue Card Services administers the blue card system—Queensland’s Working with Children Check. The blue card system regulates activities which are essential to children’s lives, including childcare, education, sport, cultural activities, and foster care. Blue Card Services check and monitor people who work in these industries and help organisations to create safe environments for children.
Screening and No Card, No Start
All adults over the age of 18 who work as an Educator, or who reside in a property with an Educator delivering Family Day Care, must apply for and hold a blue card. Educators and adult residents must have a valid blue card prior to care commencing at the residence. The No Card, No Start law means Educators must have a valid blue card before commencing care. Educators cannot commence work with a submitted application.
In the instance that an Educator does not renew their blue card before the expiry date, they will be subject to the No Card, No Start law and cannot work.
To help ensure the safety of children and young people in Queensland, the blue card system stops certain people from holding or applying for a blue card such as:
- People convicted of disqualifying offences
- Current negative notice holders
- People convicted of serious offences as they can only hold a blue card in exceptional circumstances.
It is against the law for disqualified or restricted people to apply for a blue card. Enhance will not operate a family day care service from any residence where a disqualified or restricted person lives. More information about restricted persons can be found here.
Ongoing Monitoring & changes to police information
Enhance FDC and Blue Card Services will continuously monitor the status of all Blue Card holders linked to the organisation. If there is a change in police information for any Educator or adult resident, they are obligated to report this change to Blue Card services. Failure to do so may result in a fine.
A change in police information includes:
- Any charge or conviction for an offence (conviction means being found guilty by a court, or the acceptance of a plea of guilty by a court—whether or not a conviction is recorded and regardless of when and where it took place)
- The existence of police investigative information relating to allegations of serious child-related sexual offences, even if no charges were laid
- Being the subject of an application for a disqualification order (i.e. an order that prohibits a person from holding or applying for a blue/exemption card)
- Being respondent to an application for offender prohibition order under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004
- Becoming subject to reporting obligations or a child protection offender prohibition order under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004; or a disqualification order; or a sexual offender order
Where there is a change in police notification, the blue card holder automatically becomes a restricted person. A restricted person is a person who either:
- has been issued a negative notice
- has a suspended blue card
- is a disqualified person
- has been charged with a disqualifying offence that has not been finalised.
It is an offence for a restricted person to start or continue working or volunteering in restricted employment, such as Family Day Care. Enhance will cancel or suspend registration or suspend care if an Educator, or an adult resident in a FDC residence is considered to be a restricted person.
Where an offence is considered relevant to child related employment, Blue Card services will notify Enhance of the information. This may result in suspension or cancellation of registration (for Educators) or suspension of service in the case of a change in Blue Card status of an adult resident.
Educators registered with Enhance are required to notify their Practice Mentor or Children Services Manager of any offence that may affect their blue card, or of any offence committed by an adult resident that may affect their blue card.
Exemption cards are held by police officers with the Queensland Police Service and teachers registered with the Queensland College of Teachers and are only required for work outside of a person’s professional duties (e.g. if a police officer or a teacher become an Educator, or live in an Educators house).
Exemption cards are valid for 3 years and need to be renewed prior to the expiry date. For exemption cards issued without an expiry date, these cards need to be renewed by 31st August 2023.
Exemption card holders are not required to wait until they receive their physical exemption card to commence work, however, Enhance will only allow exemption card holders to commence work on receipt of a clear police check.
Enhance FDC will regularly validate exemption cards to ensure that there are no changes to the eligibility of the card holder.
Educators and adult occupants are required to renew their blue card before the expiration date printed on their blue card. As long as the renewal application is submitted prior to the expiry date issued on the current blue card, Educators will be able to continue working. If an Educator or adult occupant does not apply for a new blue card before it expires, care will be suspended until a new blue card has been issued.
Enhance requires Educators and adult occupants to submit their renewal applications to Blue Card services at least 60 days before the current blue card expiry.
Residents turning 18
Educators are required to inform Enhance of any resident who is turning 18 within 60 days. Practice Mentors will assess the resident for fitness prior to the resident’s 18th birthday.
FDCAQ reserves the right to vary, replace or terminate this Policy.
|Links to associated documents||Nil|
|Acknowledgements and references||Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority. (2014).|
Blue Card Services (2021) https://www.qld.gov.au/law/laws-regulated-industries-and-accountability/queensland-laws-and-regulations/regulated-industries-and-licensing/blue-card-services
Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010. (Amended 2018).
Education and Care Services National Regulations. (2011) Guide to the National Quality Framework. (2018). (Amended 2020).
Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations (2017)
Guide to the National Quality Standard. (2020)
Revised National Quality Standard. (2018)