20 March 2024

IMPORTANT: ACCC and ACECQA Update Guidance on Portacots

The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently updated its guidance on the safe use of portable/folding cots (also known as ‘porta-cots’). The updated guidance moves away from ‘short-term, temporary use’ as the guiding safety principle and instead emphasises the importance of setting up porta-cots properly, checking for signs of damage before each use and ensuring a safe sleeping environment.

ACECQA has now updated their sleep and rest legislative requirements web page and published the Policy and Procedure Guidelines which have been updated to reflect the amended ACCC guidance.

ACECQA’s updated guidelines states:

Portable cots that meet the Australian mandatory standard may be used to enhance the ability of the educator to supervise the sleeping infant or child, but must be set up properly, in a safe location, and in good condition. According to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) guidelines, portacots are generally less robust than standard cots, so they should be regularly checked for signs of damage and to make sure that the folding and locking mechanisms work correctly. Infants can become trapped and strangled if cots accidentally collapse when they are not properly assembled and locked into place. Risks associated with using portacots should be addressed in sleep and rest risk assessments.

The changes to sleep and rest provisions in the National Regulations that came into effect in October 2023 through the Further Amendment Regulations, specifically 84B(f), require that sleep and rest policies and procedures must address “how the sleep and rest practices at the service are consistent with any current health guidelines on the best practices to adopt to ensure the safety of children during sleep and rest.”

Clearly, with the previous ACCC guidance referencing “short-term, temporary use”, services and educators had adjusted policies and procedures to move away from the ongoing use of portacots to some extent. As such, we urge both services and educators to review the updated guidance and make any necessary amendments to move towards the more flexible guidance which focuses on proper set up, safe location and condition of the portacot.

Reflecting on FDCA’s Recent ACECQA Meeting

Earlier this week, FDCA CEO Andrew Paterson met with members of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) executive team to discuss all things family day care, from the macro pressures facing the sector more broadly (i.e. workforce shortages and the National Workforce Strategy, educator attraction and retention, cost of living pressures, the Productivity Commission and ACCC Inquiries etc.), to the more micro day-to-day regulatory and practice issues facing services and educators (i.e. administrative burden, possible changes coming from the Child Safety Review, amended guidelines on portacots etc.). These discussions focussed on the key priorities and opportunities for 2024, where ACECQA and FDCA can collaborate and support our shared goals for supporting family day care.

An issue of particular note that arose from the discussion around assessment and ratings was family day care’s significant improvement overall in NQF rating levels and general performance overall across 2023, which is emphasised across ACECQA’s Annual Performance Report 2023, which states “The proportion of family day care services rated Meeting NQS or above is the highest since quality ratings first began, with recent year-on-year improvement rates of between 4-5 percentage points. If this trend continues, approaching 90% of family day care services will be rated Meeting NQS or above before the end of 2025.”

The discussion emphasised that it is frequently a small number of specific NQS elements that services are deemed not be “not meeting” that is preventing more services achieving a “Meeting” or Exceeding” NQS rating. Those areas are:

  • Element 1.3.1: Assessment and planning cycle (22% of family day care services not meeting, compared to a national average of 6%)
  • Element 1.3.2: Critical reflection (22% of family day care services not meeting, compared to a national average of 6%)
  • Element 2.2.1: Supervision (12% of family day care services not meeting, compared to a national average of 4%)
  • Element 7.1.2: Management systems (14% of family day care services not meeting, compared to a national average of 4%)

Don’t forget there are a number of family day care specific resources available in your FDCA Member Zone to assist in improving practice in these areas including:

  • A Short Guide to Early Childhood Pedagogy and the accompanying Companion Resource
  • The FDCA Critical Reflection Tool and Companion Resource
  • The FDCA Learning Hub!

Also, ACECQA has a wide range of family day care in all support materials and guidance developed, including:

Online Engagement Series: Fostering Relationships

Episode nine of the FDCA Online Engagement Series will be streaming on Wednesday, 27 March from 6.30pm - 8.00pm (AEDT), with our special guest panel exploring the topic of fostering relationships.

Our panel will provide tips, advice and answer your questions covering all aspects of relationships through a family day care lens.

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

  • ‍Stephanie Hoy - Family Day Care Educator, West Country Family Day Care, SA.‍
  • Rachael Sheppard - Team Leader, Kentish Family Day Care, NT.
  • Donna Klitscher - Team Leader, Uniting Family Day Care - Wimmera, VIC.

‍Episode details

‍Be part of the conversation

To help guide the conversation towards topics that interest you, we're calling on FDCA members to submit questions for our panellists.

If you would like to submit a question, simply 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.

Register for the National Workforce Census

The Australian Government Department of Education has communicated that it’s time to register for the 2024 early childhood education and care (ECEC) National Workforce Census. Approved services should look out for an email from the Social Research Centre. It contains important information about the Census and how to register.

The National Workforce Census helps the Australian Government to develop and measure policies and programs for the sector. Please note that it is mandatory for all Child Care Subsidy (CCS) approved providers under Family Assistance Law.

If you haven’t heard from the Social Research Centre, the Department of Education urges approved services to check their junk/spam folder. If you still can’t find the email, call 1800 639 098 or email

Further information and regular updates on the National Workforce Census are available on the Social Research Centre website.

NQA IT System Upgrade: Dates Confirmed

The NQA IT system upgrade is scheduled for the Easter long weekend. This means that the system will be unavailable from 5pm AEDT on Thursday 28 March 2024 until 8am AEDT Tuesday 2 April. Users will need to use a new log in procedure from Tuesday 2 April and will receive email advice about the steps required before the upgrade.

For more information, see ACECQA’s website.

Harmony Week

It is currently Harmony Week, running from Monday 18th - Sunday 24th March. 

Harmony Week is the celebration that recognises our diversity and brings together Australians from all different backgrounds.

It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.​

Y​ou can wear orange to show your support, or you can attend/host a Harmony Week event. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.

To find out more or register an event, please click here.

Easter Closures

The Family Day Care Australia national offices will be closed from 5pm AEDT Thursday 28th March and reopening 9am Tuesday 2nd April 2024 for Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Should your family day care insurance require renewal during this period or if you need to purchase a new family day care insurance policy, please visit our website. If you need to make an emergency claim, details of how to do this are located on our website.

We wish everyone a happy and safe long weekend!

Have you downloaded the myFDCA App?

Available to all FDCA members on both Apple and Android devices, the myFDCA App is FREE and available to download via the App Store and the Google Play Store.

The myFDCA App puts your range of exclusive member benefits in the palm of your hand to access anytime, anywhere! This means:

  • You can access your FDCA member benefits via your mobile device anytime, anywhere!
  • You can get realtime Family Day Care Locator notifications, never miss a care enquiry and respond instantly!
  • Your favourite resources such as the FDCA Learning Hub, the Online Engagement Series and JiGSAW magazine will always be in arms reach!

You can also view your membership and insurance information through the app. 

How do I get the myFDCA App?

To get the myFDCA App today, all you need to do is visit the App Store (Apple devices) or the Google Play Store (Android devices) and download the app.

Logging into your myFDCA App

Once you have downloaded the app, all you need to do is log in using the same email address and password that you use to access your FDCA Member Zone.

What if I haven't activated my FDCA Member Zone?

To activate your FDCA Member Zone, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Click here to activate your free account
  2. Enter your registered email address (the same email that this email was sent to)
  3. An email will then be sent to your email address; click on the 'create password' button
  4. Create and confirm your password
  5. Use your email address and password to access the myFDCA App

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