A minimum one-to-four carer-to-child ratio has been supported by a visiting US childcare expert.
Meeting with Australian government
Co-director of the WestEd Centre for Child and Family, Professor Ron Lally, addressed members of the federal and New South Wales governments, including Opposition spokesperson on family and community services, Jenny Macklin, calling on them to alter Australia's childcare laws.
Lally described NSW's state regulation of one staff member to five children under the age of two, as 'ridiculous':
'Anyone who can remember taking care of babies will know it's ridiculous to think you can do a good job when one person has five babies at once.'
He said that research clearly demonstrated the benefits of a one-to-four ratio and of keeping group size to a minimum of eight infantsâ€”for language development, infection control and to permit carers to respond warmly and promptly and form ongoing relationships with the children in their care.
Lally's comments echo those of '1:4 Make it Law'â€”a campaign initiated in 2007 by a coalition of Australian childcare organisations.
Visit the 1:4 Make it Law campaign website.
The NSW Minister of Community Services, Kevin Greene, has commissioned independent research into the economic and social impact of moving from a legally required 1:5 to 1:4 ratio. A report is due to be available mid-2008.
View these related items on the Early Childhood Australia website:
- Early Childhood Australia letter to COAG
- September 2006 – OECD report: Australia lowest in early childhood investment
- July 2004 – Concern over NSW Government decision to maintain current child:staff ratios