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Child care centres operating without federal checks [AU]

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O'Brien, Susie and Hockley, Catherine
Publication Date: 
30 Jan 2004

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Almost one in ten Victorian child care centres is operating without federal accreditation.

Sixty-six long-day childcare centres out of 819 across the state lack federal approvals for standards such as health and safety.

But childcare centres say a tough new national accreditation system introduced in 2002 is slow and bureaucratic.

Most of the 66 centres have been seeking approvals from the National Childcare Accreditation Council for months, while more than 10 are appealing against decisions not to accredit them.

West Hawthorn Early Childhood Centre director Joanne Manser said the council had originally told the centre it would pass accreditation after meeting requirements.

More than six months later, in May last year it informed her the centre had failed.

National Association of Community-based Children's Services secretary Barbara Romeril claimed the accreditation process also meant "shonky operators can get away with very poor standards if they want to".

The accreditation figures come as the child care sector is in crisis, with parents facing fee increases of up to $3500 and thousands on year-long waiting lists.

According to council figures, 312 federally funded child care centres across Australia are not accredited, out of a total 4383.

Victoria has the second highest number of centres without accreditation, behind New South Wales with 103.

All long-day care centres, as well as family day care and after school care centres must be registered with the council and meet accreditation to get federal childcare funds.

The centres are also licensed at a state level. The council's website only reveals if a childcare centre is accredited but gives no detail if it has applied and failed.

- reprinted from Herald and Weekly Times