WA Family Day Care residences and venues with water features subject to new rules
Family day care (FDC) residences or venues with swimming pools, spas and water features in Western Australia are now subject to a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement, which was developed following a Coronial inquest into the drowning death of a toddler at a FDC residence in 2015.
At the time of the inquest, the Coroner made several recommendations regarding FDC services that operate in residences or venues with swimming pools, spas and water features. Most of the recommendations required changes to legislation, and as such, in March 2019, Minister for Community Services, Simone McGurk, released a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement for public consultation to examine options to address each aspect of the Coroner’s recommendations.
The Decision Regulatory Impact Statement provides the Minister’s preferred option to address the Coroner’s recommendations. As such, changes to the conditions set on family day care providers and educators, as well as regulation amendments, will need to be progressed through both national and Western Australian legislative processes.
The Department said it will update FDC approved providers and educators as these changes progress.
Considering the possible impact of proposed changes on the FDC sector, the families who rely on them and most importantly the safety of the children who attend a family day care service, the Minister has decided to:
- gradually phase out swimming pools and spas at Western Australian family day care residences and venues by prohibiting approved providers from accepting applications from prospective educators with pools or spas from 31 December 2020, except those currently in the application process. Any new educators accepted before 31 December 2020 are expected to be operational by the time regulation amendments commence.
- improve safety at existing family day care educators’ residence/venue with pools or spas by requiring additional safety devices designed to alert or deter a child from entering the water – within six months of the regulations commencing.
- require the approved provider to inspect each family day care educators’ residence/venue with pools, spas or water features on a monthly basis – from the commencement of new regulations and after undertaking training by a qualified third-party provider in carrying out the inspections of family day care residences/venues with pools, spas or water features.
- require that all family day care educators have at least one telephone or similar means of communication in a fixed location as a back-up in case of an emergency – within six months of regulations commencing.
More information about the initiative is available through the Frequently Asked Questions document as linked.
Any further clarification can be gained by emailing [email protected]