WA Government releases new swimming pool regulations to make FDC safer
The West Australian Government has commenced the phase out of swimming pools and spas for family day care (FDC) services.
Additional safety measures and training for FDC educators who have residences with pools, spas or water features will commence immediately, addressing recommendations handed down at the completion of a 2018 coronial inquest into the tragic death of Lachlan Mitchell, who drowned at an FDC service in 2015.
“Following the coronial inquest into Lachlan Mitchell’s tragic death, I promised to take the coroner’s recommendations into account, hear views from within the sector and consider public submissions on the potential changes,” Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said.
“I have also spoken to Lachlan’s mother, Melanie Mitchell, throughout this process, and I would like to acknowledge and thank her for engaging purposefully to help implement meaningful sector changes that will support better child safety outcomes.”
The changes, announced yesterday, introduce new compliance requirements, including monthly inspections of residences with pools, spas and water features and additional safety devices on site.
A transition period will apply to ensure that FDC providers and educators have time to meet the new compliance requirements, including any applicants currently in the process to commence or transfer.
The updated regulatory requirements will mean:
- existing educators in residences with pools or spas can continue to operate, but will not be eligible to transfer to another approved provider once the transition period has ended;
- a ban on new FDC services in residences with pools or spas, except those in the application process until a specified date as part of the transition period;
- monthly inspections of each FDC residence with a pool, spa or water feature by an approved provider;
- existing FDC educators with pools or spas will be required to have additional safety device/s designed to alert or deter a child from entering the water;
- approved providers need to be trained by a qualified third party to undertake inspections of pools, spas and water features at each family day care residence; and,
- all FDC educators will need to have a back-up means of communication in a fixed location, in case of emergency.
The Department of Communities will work immediately to enact the regulatory updates and will collaborate with the sector to support it through the transition period.
Further information is available here.