Clarification for Victorian ECEC services about access permits – one parent or two?
The Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety has issued clear guidance and guidelines about the early childhood permit, required in Victoria from 6 August, in order for children of permitted workers to access early childhood education and care (ECEC).
Although initial guidance outlined that only the children of permitted workers and vulnerable children would be able to access ECEC services, there was some confusion within the sector in relation to whether it was one or both parents who needed to be permitted workers in order to access care.
Updated advice from the Department indicates that “both carers do not have to be permitted workers to access childcare – but we are asking that Victorians only access childcare and kinder services if they have to.”
Permitted workers are able to access onsite childcare and kinder if there is no one else in their household who is able to supervise their child/ren. For example, a permitted worker in a single parent household may access childcare and kinder.
If there is another carer in the household, permitted workers can still access onsite childcare if the other parent/carer cannot supervise the child/ren. This could be for a number of reasons – for example, their partner or co-parent:
- has a medical condition, or chronic illness which prevents them from caring for the child;
- has a disability;
- is completing full-time study and must attend onsite; or,
- works from home, but in a role that means they cannot supervise the child/ren – resulting in the permitted worker not being able to do their job.
For the purposes of childcare and kinder, a permitted worker can also include someone working from home. This does not apply to every worker working from home – only those working in permitted industries.
Permitted workers are also able to continue with pre-existing in-home care arrangements if there is no one else in their household who is able to supervise their child. In the event that these arrangements include care provided by grandparents or elderly relatives, the Department said that while these people play an important role in caring for children, “we strongly advise these types of care arrangements are avoided where possible.”
“We know that living with coronavirus is challenging for lots of families, but as Victorians understand we must do everything we can to keep families together – by staying at home and slowing the spread of the virus” the advice from the Department concluded.
Whilst the information provided in this piece was correct at time of publication, readers are encouraged to cross reference any such advice with primary sources from the Victorian Government, to ensure the most up to date information is being actioned.