Babies will be the big winners in 2012 thanks to new early childhood reforms that come into effect on 1 January, ensuring there is one staff member for every four babies now in childcare.
This is the first of the Federal Government’s major reforms to the childcare sector and ushers in a new era of early childhood education and care that focuses on what is best for children, helping them to grow and learn.
Early Childhood Australia CEO Pam Cahir said the reforms were significant, but thankfully many childcare services were already implementing them so costs to parents would be minimal.
“The new 1:4 ratio for children under 24 months means they will now get a higher quality of care and be able to develop the relationships that are so vital to a young child’s development.”
From 1 January all services will also begin to be assessed against the new National Quality Standard.
“This means all early childhood services will receive a rating following an assessment by a qualified assessor.
“The rating system will eventually provide information to parents and assure them that the service they use is meeting the high standards expected in this day and age.
“The reforms really are win-win. Parents will be much better informed about the quality of their child’s early education and care, and children will benefit in terms of their social and intellectual growth, and learning from higher quality interactions with staff members.”
Ms Cahir said the reform package was long-term.
“The full set of early childhood education and care reforms will be implemented over the next eight years. There is plenty of time for services to adjust and many, many services have already moved ahead to implement the reforms.
“2014 will be the next milestone for governments and services to work towards. This is a long-term process that will benefit children, families and the Australian economy and should not be slowed down to appease interest groups.
“Like any big reforms it will take time for everyone to adjust. But thankfully everyone agrees they are important, so let’s make it happen as soon as possible,” Ms Cahir said.
For more information contact:
Pam Cahir, 0407 008 524 / Stewart Prins 0419 929 722
Watch the 7:30 Report interview http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3401029.htm