16 August 2023

FDCA Online Engagement Series: Neurodiversity and Inclusion

Episode 6 of the FDCA Online Engagement Series will take place on Thursday 31 August from 6.00pm - 7.30pm (AEST), with our special guest panel exploring the topics of neurodiversity and inclusion from a family day care and early learning context.

Our panel will also provide advice on support services and resources that are accessible to family day care educators and services, as well as strategies for supporting neurodiverse children and their families.

Guests that will be joining our host, FDCA Advocacy and Engagement Manager Michael Farrell include:

  • Hannah Smith - Midcoast Family Day Care, Family Day Care Educator and 2022 National Educator of the Year
  • Samantha Folan - Community Vision Family Day Care, Family Day Care Coordinator and 2015 Educator of the Year National Finalist
  • Gee van der Watt - Owner and Director, Autism Inclusion

Episode details

  • Date and Time: Thursday, 31 August 2023, 6:00pm - 7.30pm AEST
  • Guests: Hannah Smith, Samantha Folan and Gee van der Watt
  • Streaming Links: FDCA Website, Facebook and YouTube

Be part of the conversation

To help us cover as much relevant content as possible, we want you to be part of the conversation by submitting your questions for our panelists.

If you would like to submit a question, simply click here.

You can also share your experiences on this topic via our Mentimeter Quiz. To share your insights, click here.

Can’t make it on the night?

If you can’t make the session on the night, don’t worry! A recording of the episode will be available via the FDCA Member Zone afterwards.

Changes to the National Regulations Commencing from 1 October 2023

In 2022, Education Ministers agreed to a number of changes to the National Quality Framework based on findings from the 2019 Review of the National Quality Framework (NQF Review). These changes are occurring in phases and with some changes already introduced in March and July 2023. 

A third round of regulatory changes resulting from the NQF Review have recently been approved and will commence for the majority of jurisdictions from 1 October 2023 through the Education and Care Services National Further Amendment Regulations 2023. FDCA urges both approved services and educators to familiarise themselves with the “Further Amendment Regulations” and work collaboratively to ensure that all parties are familiar with their individual and shared obligations under the amendments. 

The key amendments for family day care span obligations for approved providers, service staff and educators and relate to the following areas:

  • Sleep and rest - New regulations 84A, 84B, 84C inserted: policy and procedure requirements and risk assessments.
  • Changes for services in multi-storey buildings - New regulations 34(1)(f)(ia), 97(1)(c) and 116(2)(b) inserted: risk assessments and additional documentation required.
  • Family day care coordinators to have child protection training - Section 162A of the National Law substituted.
  • Family day care register - Regulation 153(1)(j) substituted and new regulation 153(1)(ma) inserted: currency of qualifications and new requirements relating to details of exceptional circumstances approvals.
  • Swimming pools and other water hazards - New regulations 116A, 116B and 116C inserted: inspection of swimming pools, water features and other potential water hazards and compliance with fencing requirements for swimming pools (note: does not apply in Western Australia).
  • Changes to glass requirements - Regulation 117(1)(b) substituted: glass safety requirements now apply at a height of 0ꞏ75 metres or less above floor level (note: does not apply in Western Australia).
  • New display in residence and venue requirements - New regulation 173A inserted: additional information to be displayed.
  • First aid current requirements - Regulation 136(4A) inserted: clarification relating to what constitutes qualification currency (note: does not apply until 1 April 2024).
  • The role of the educator assistant - Amendment to regulation 144(4)(a): addition of “or escort” (i.e. by walking) to the transport provision.
  • Family day care educator to notify provider - Regulation 176A substituted: Changes to educator notification requirements for persons who resides at the FDC residence being fit and proper persons and any circumstances arising at an educator’s residence or approved venue that may pose a risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of children.

Please note: The above list is not exhaustive and other regulations have been added or amended that may apply to family day care approved services, approved providers and/or educators. Please review the Further Amendment Regulations and guidance material linked below to ensure you are fully aware of your obligations.

The following links provide useful guidance and resources to assist services and educators in complying with the changes:

Info Sheet on legislative requirements for family day care providers from 2023

Info Sheet on legislative requirements for family day care educators from 2023

Links to relevant information and resources

Info Sheet on Compliance Responsibilities under the National Law and National Regulations

NEW Information Sheet from ACECQA on Sleep and Rest Requirements

Under regulation 168 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations), services are already required to have policies and procedures in place relating to sleep and rest. 

In addition to this existing obligation, new regulations have been inserted at 84A, 84B, 84C that require providers to:

  • Include matters prescribed under the National Regulations in their policies and procedures for sleep and rest, and  
  • Conduct a sleep and rest risk assessment at least once every 12 months, and as soon as practicable after becoming aware of any circumstance that may affect the safety, health or wellbeing of children during sleep and rest. The sleep and rest risk assessment is to be conducted for the purpose of preparing the service’s policies and procedures for sleep and rest. The approved provider of a family day care (FDC) service must ensure that the risk assessment is conducted in respect of each family day care residence and approved family day care venue that forms part of the service. Offence penalties apply.

To assist providers and educators to meet these sleep and rest legislative requirements, ACECQA has recently published:

A Reminder from the Department

Services Australia has started balancing Child Care Subsidy (CCS) for the 2022–23 financial year. Families who get CCS must confirm their income with Services Australia so their payments can be balanced.

Families confirm their income by:

  • Lodging their tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), or
  • Telling Services Australia they don't need to lodge a tax return, even if they've already told the ATO.

Once Services Australia has balanced a family’s CCS, they will send them an outcome.

Services Australia understand the importance of balancing payments and are doing their best to complete the balancing process as quickly as they can.

To access more information for providers please click here. Please direct families with questions to the Services Australia website. You may also wish to display a balancing basics poster at your service.

NAPCAN: National Child Protection Week Webinars

National Child Protection Week will take place from 3-9 September with the message for the week being “Every child in every community needs a fair go”. To extend the 'where we start matters' conversation through thoughtful discussions with innovative thinkers, NAPCAN will be hosting several free webinars during the week.

If you would like to register for the webinars, click here.

The NAPCAN website also has a wide range of resources available that can be accessed by educators and services.

Free Professional Development at your Fingertips with the FDCA Learning Hub!

The FDCA Learning Hub provides members with access to over 36 online modules that speak the language of early childhood professionals and are directly linked to the National Quality Framework.

Like you, we strive for ongoing excellence and quality outcomes for more Australian children – and we know that the best way to make that happen is to support our members to learn, grow and share their expertise.

Here are just some of the exciting new modules you’ll be able to access on the Learning Hub:

  • Your Home, Your Business;
  • Playing with gratitude;
  • Supporting children's self-regulation;
  • Reconciliation in action;
  • Using critical reflection;
  • Maths is everywhere; and
  • Documenting and assessing part I and II.

Best of all, each module can be completed from the comfort of your home, or in the company of your colleagues, at a pace that suits you.

Accessing the Learning Hub

Access is at your fingertips, through the FDCA Member Zone.

To find out more, you can also watch our video tutorial here to help you navigate the Learning Hub.