Implementation of the Children’s Services law reform

Background

Changes to the Children’s Services Act 1996 and the new Children’s Services Regulations 2020 came into effect together on 17 May 2020.

On this page we outline some of the key changes for former licensed children’s services, keep you updated on progress with implementing the reform, and provide links to more detailed information on other pages that will be progressively updated with new information and guidance.

On this page

Transitional Timeline

The new requirements will be staged:

  • New providers and new services approved after 17 May 2020 must meet all requirements of the revised Act and new Regulations immediately.
  • Former licensed children’s services must meet the new requirements for staffing, premises, and policies and procedures by 1 January 2022.

The new annual service fee is payable for all services in 2021 - no annual service fee will be payable in 2020.

Approved Associated Children’s Services operated by approved providers under the National Quality Framework will be phased out over two years. We will contact these providers directly.

Conversion of former licences to new approved providers and service types

The Regulations streamline the former seven licence types into two new service types: Limited Hours and Occasional Care.

Limited Hours service – extends the length of time a child can be educated and cared for under the former Limited Hours Type 1 licence type from 2 hours per day to 3 hours per day, up to 6 hours per week.

Occasional Care service - all other services that are not Limited Hours services. These services now have no limit on the number of hours children can be educated and cared for each week.

Following the amendments to the Act, all licensees have become approved providers, and all licences have become service approvals. The new Regulations have automatically converted former licences to either Limited Hours or Occasional Care service types.

  • All Limited hours (Type 1) licences will become Limited hours services.
  • All Standard, Limited hours (Type 2), School holidays care and Integrated licences will become Occasional care services.

The Department has written to every former licensee (now an approved provider) to notify them of the changes to their licence. Approved providers can make alterations to their service offering if they wish, or request to change to the other service type. You can contact us for further details.

The Department will contact each approved provider under the National Quality Framework who operate an Approved Associated Children’s Service individually to discuss their situation — There is a two-year transition period for Approved Associated Children’s Services.

Persons with management or control (PMC) of service and nominated supervisors

Approved providers must confirm the name of their PMCs and nominated supervisors by 17 June 2020 using the survey emailed to them.

Under the Act, individuals who were previously identified as licensee representatives and responsible persons will be known as persons with management or control or “PMC”. Each approved provider will need to have one or more PMC responsible for managing the delivery of the service. The regulatory authority must be satisfied that a PMC is a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of a children’s service.

Individuals who were previously identified as the primary nominee will be known as a nominated supervisor. There can be more than one nominated supervisor for a service.

All existing responsible persons and nominees will be taken to be fit and proper under the revised CS Act. For new PMCs, and nominated supervisors, the fit and proper person requirements are more comprehensive and explicit. For example, the applicant’s specific criminal history information will be considered.

Change or update your provider and service details using the following forms:

Provider approval - to amend existing provider status or information use AP08 Notification of Change to Information about Approved Provider

Service approval - to amend existing details use AS10 Notification of Change to Information about Approved Service

Person with Management or Control (PMC) -

  • Change PMC details: Use AP08 Notification of change of information about Approved Provider
  • Add new PMC: Use AP08 Notification of Change of Information about Approved Provider
  • AP02 Declaration of Fitness and Propriety is to be included when adding a PMC

Nominated Supervisor - to add, change or update Nominated Supervisor, or their details use:

  • AS13 Notification of Change to Nominated Supervisor
  • When adding a new nominated supervisor include AS12 Nominated Supervisor Consent

Other applications and notification – forms to use to apply for a waiver, and other forms related to the running of a service forms for operating a children’s service are available here.

Completed applications and notifications must be submitted by email to the Regulatory Authority at Licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au for assessment and processing.

Educational Program

The Act previously required services to provide an educational or recreational program that is based on the developmental needs, interests and experiences of each child, and designed to take into account the individual differences of those children.

This requirement has been strengthened by aligning it with the National Law requirement to deliver a program based on an approved learning framework.

You can read about the new requirements for the educational program that apply to all services from 17 May 2020.

Transitional staffing requirements

The existing staffing ratios and qualifications requirements that applied to your former licence will continue to apply until 1 January 2022 when the new requirements commence.

However, from 17 May 2020 the new flexible staffing provisions will apply, That is, the new probationary period for staff prior to enrolment in a Certificate III course, and the ability to count staff who are ‘actively working towards’ their qualifications in the educator to child ratios as if they hold the relevant qualification.

For more information:

Indoor and outdoor space requirements

All children’s services must provide 3.25 square metres of indoor space per child.

Children’s services are no longer required to have a second babies room.

Limited hours services are not required to have an outdoor space. Occasional care services must provide 7 square metres of outdoor space per child.

Former Limited Hours Type 2 services that do not have 7 square metres of outdoor space per child can operate under the Occasional care service type while maintaining the 5 hours per day and 15 hours per week limitation on providing education and care for any child.

Previously, a verandah space could only be calculated for outdoor space. Under the new regulations, a verandah space may be included in either an indoor and outdoor space calculation with the approval of the Regulatory Authority. However, it can be calculated for only one (either indoor or outdoor) of those spaces, not both.

Fencing requirements have changed to be outcomes based. Any outdoor space used by children at the children’s service premises must be enclosed by a fence or barrier that is of a height and design that children of preschool age or under cannot go through, over or under it.

Policies and procedures—transitional requirements

All new services approved after 17 May 2020 must have in place a comprehensive set of policies and procedures.

For former licensed services, some additional policies and procedures have been added to previous requirements. These include:

  • health and safety requirements, including food and nutrition, water safety, sun safety and sleep
  • acceptance and refusal of authorisations (to ensure that all educators, staff and volunteers of a service are consistent in how authorisations are managed)
  • dealing with medical conditions
  • providing a child safe environment
  • interactions with children
  • governance and management of the service.

Former licensed children’s services have until 1 January 2022 to meet the new requirements. The previous requirements for policies and procedures, and documentation and information to be made available, will remain in place until then.

Enquiries and support

For further information and assistance about the processes for transitioning services to the new requirements, contact our Enquiries and Support Team at: