Family day care swimming pool consultation open for comment
The Western Australian Government is seeking public comment to inform potential changes to family day care (FDC) regulations in relation to residences that have swimming pools, spas and water features, following the drowning death of Lachlan Mitchell whilst attending an FDC service in 2015.
A 2018 coronial inquest into Master Mitchell’s passing made a number of recommendations regarding FDC educators who operate services in residences with swimming pools, spas and water features. The bulk of the recommendations would require some form of regulatory change, hence the consultation process.
An initial consultation process – the preliminary requirement for any change in regulation – sought feedback from Master Mitchell’s family, the FDC sector and key industry stakeholders. A more extensive process will now be undertaken to assess implications of potential changes to regulations.
As of December 2018, 36 FDC-approved providers operated in WA, with collective responsibility for 1,256 homes where FDC services were conducted. Of these, 191 residences are currently registered as having a pool on their property.
These FDC residences are inspected annually by the FDC-approved providers and may be subjected to unannounced inspections by the State’s Education and Care Regulatory Unit.
WA Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said it was important for the Government to fully understand the impact of potential changes of regulation to families and the broader FDC sector, adding “As the Community Services Minister, I want to ensure there are strong regulations in place to protect our youngest children when they are in care, while also ensuring the sector can continue to provide family day care options to the community.”
The consultation period commenced 18 March 2019, and will remain open for eight weeks. A copy of the consultation documents and information on how to make a submission can be found at http://www.communities.wa.gov.au/FDCswimmingpoolconsultations