Quality Area 3: Physical environment

3.1 Harm and hazards

 

National Law, Section 167 ]

Every reasonable precaution must be taken to protect children from harm or hazards that could cause an injury.

This section provides information about the types of things authorised officers may consider when examining whether every reasonable precaution has been taken to protect children from harm and hazards. It is not an exhaustive list, and should be treated as guidance only.

Protecting children is relevant to every aspect of the service, not just the physical environment.

3.2 Outdoor space requirements

Minimum outdoor space calculations

Note: This regulation only applies to centre-based services and family day care venues (not residences).

 

National Regulations, Regulation 108]

The service premises must have at least seven (7) square metres of unencumbered outdoor space for each child being educated and cared for at the service.

Areas such as pathways, thoroughfares, car parks and storage sheds or any other space that is not suitable for children cannot be counted as outdoor space.

The area of a verandah included in calculating the area of indoor space cannot be included in calculating the area of outdoor space.

An area of unencumbered indoor space may be included in calculating the outdoor space of a service that provides education and care to children over preschool age if the regulatory authority has given written approval and this space has not already been included in calculating the indoor space – that is, it cannot be counted twice.

Outdoor space requirements do not apply to a child or children being educated and cared for by the service in the case of an emergency.

Authorised officers may check:

  • that outdoor space is usable by children and does not include areas that, if used, would pose an unacceptable risk of harm to children
  • that the outdoor space reflects the building plans when visiting the service.

See Applications and Approvals for information about approval of indoor space to be included as outdoor space.

3.3 Swimming pools and other water hazards

Visit Kid Safe Australia for more guidance. Please note that some states and territories may have additional restrictions. 

 

National Regulations, Regulations 25–26, 116, 116A, 116B, 116C ]   WA  NSW    TAS

Centre-based services: A copy of the service’s proposed water safety policy must be included in the application for service approval if there is a swimming pool or other water hazard.

Family day care residences or venues: A copy of the service’s proposed water safety policy must be included in the application for service approval if the approved provider permits a residence or venue with a swimming pool or something that may constitute a water hazard. Approved providers must ensure that residences comply with fencing requirements and conduct monthly inspections of swimming pools and surrounds.

The existence of any water hazards, water features or swimming pool at or near the residence or venue needs to be considered as part of the assessment of each residence and approved family day care venue, prior to education and care being provided.

To identify any safety risks or issues, the approved provider, or a person nominated by the approved provider to represent the approved provider, (the nominated person must not be someone who provides care or resides at the residence or venue) must conduct monthly inspections of water hazards, water features or swimming pools at each family day care residence and approved family day care venue with a water hazard, water feature or swimming pool. 

A water hazard or water feature may include dams, relocatable/paddling pools, ponds, water fountains, large drains or any areas that retain water.

An inspection may be conducted in person or remotely using technology that enables the person to conduct the inspection without visiting the residence or venue in person. However, no more than six (6) inspections may be conducted remotely in any given calendar year. Please note an inspection may not be conducted remotely if the previous two (2) inspections were conducted remotely.

The approved provider must ensure that the person who conducted the inspection provides the approved provider and the family day care educator with a written report with the following information:

  1. the address of the residence or venue; and
  2. the date and time of the inspection; and
  3. the full name of the person who conducted the inspection and the person’s signature; and
  4. whether the inspection was conducted on site or remotely; and
  5. details of any safety risks or issues identified during the inspection; and
  6. if any safety risks or issues are identified:
    1. the action that the person who conducted the inspection considers should be taken to rectify it and mitigate risks associated with it before it is rectified; and
    2. an estimate of the time needed to rectify the identified safety issue.
  7. if no safety risks or issues are identified:
    1. confirmation that the inspection did not identify any risks in relation to the water hazard, the water feature or the swimming pool located at the residence or venue.

If a safety risk or issue is identified as a result of an inspection, the person who conducted the inspection, if not the approved provider, must provide written notice of the safety issue to the approved provider within 24 hours of conducting the inspection. If no safety risk or issue is identified, the inspection report will be provided in seven (7) days.

Approved providers are responsible for giving a copy of the inspection report to each family day care educator who provides education and care to children at the residence or venue. Approved providers will be required to keep the inspection reports available for inspection by an authorised officer. 

Authorised officers may look at what reasonable precautions are taken to protect children from harm and hazard posed by a swimming pool on the service premises.

Please note: Regulation 345 will continue to apply to prohibit swimming pools at an education and care service premise in Tasmania, with the listed requirements above applying to water hazards, water features or swimming pools on the residential property at or near these education and care service premises.  

Please note: Western Australia has adopted its own jurisdiction specific provisions to manage the risks identified with swimming pools, water hazards, water features or swimming pools. Further information can be found on the Department of Communities website. 

3.4 Fencing

 

National Regulations, Regulations 104, 116, 116A, 116B, 116C]

Any outdoor space used by children 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. Fencing requirements do not apply to centre-based services that primarily educate and care for children over preschool age. Fencing requirements also do not apply to family day care residences or venues if all the children being educated and cared for at that residence or venue are over preschool age.

The approved provider of a family day care service must ensure that any swimming pool at a family day care residence or approved family day care venue of the service has a fence that complies with the law of the participating jurisdiction that applies to fences around swimming pools in which the residence or venue is located. Approved providers should request evidence that demonstrates this compliance, for example a certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance (Victoria), certificate of occupancy and use – swimming pool fencing or barrier (ACT), certificate of completion (Tasmania), certificate of compliance (NSW).

Jurisdiction Relevant fencing laws, regulations or standards
NSW Swimming Pools Act 1992
ACT Building Act 2004
National Construction Code (Australian Standard 1926.1)
Qld Building Act 1975 administered by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission
NT Swimming Pool Safety Act 2004
WA Building Act 2011
Building Regulations 2012
SA Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016
Tas Section 11 of the Building Act 2016
Vic Building Act 1993 
Building Regulations 2018 
Building Amendment (Swimming Pool & Spa) Regulations 2019

When considering whether the service ‘primarily’ educates and cares for children over preschool age, authorised officers may consider the following factors:

  • the percentage of children who are enrolled and, if the information is available, who attend, the education and care service who are over preschool age
  • the operating hours of the service – operating mostly or solely out of school hours may indicate the service ‘primarily’ educates and cares for school age children
  • service advertising – advertising education and care for school age children may indicate the service primarily provides education and care to school age children.

Authorised officers may:

  • discuss with the approved provider the design of the fence. Where possible, fencing should allow children to view the outside world but ensure a child’s safety by reducing opportunities to escape. Allowing children to see the outside world enables children to make connections with the activities of their local community. It also supports the development of long-range vision.
  • consider the height and design of the fence does not allow children preschool age or under to scale the fence, burrow under it, or squeeze through any gaps.
  • look at the design and maintenance of the fence in relation to outdoor play equipment and other materials in the environment to ensure that children are unable to get a foothold and climb over the fence. For example, an overhanging tree or tree stump may be used as leverage to get over the fence.
Approved providers may refer to the Australian Standards about fencing and seek advice from their local fire services authority about emergency exits.

General transitional provisions – fencing

Centre-based services

National Regulations, Regulations 248–250 ]

Regulation 104 does not apply:

  • to a centre-based service delivering a preschool program in a school and in a class where a full-time education program is also being delivered to school children
  • to a declared approved service, if the service did not comply with regulation 104 on 1 January 2012 (1 August 2012 in WA) and was not required to comply with a similar requirement immediately before that day.

Regulation 104 applies:

  • to a declared approved service when the premises are renovated or the service approval is transferred under section 58 of the National Law.

Family day care

Regulation 104 does not apply:

  • to a declared approved family day care service if the family care residence or declared approved family day care venue did not comply with regulation 104 on 1 January 2012 (1 August 2012 in WA) and was not required to comply with a similar requirement immediately before that day.

Regulation 104 applies:

  • to the declared approved family day care service in respect of a family day care residence or approved family day care venue once the premises are renovated or the family day care educator is no longer registered or engaged by the service.

3.5 Natural environment

 

National Regulations, Regulation 113 ]

Outdoor spaces must allow children to explore and experience the natural environment. The outdoor space may include gardens, sandpits and dirt patches, pebble/gravel pits, edible plants, shady trees, worm farms, compost areas, and water play areas. Approved providers may bring in logs, rocks, hay bales, tree stumps and potted plants to achieve natural environment requirements. This does not mean that all artificial grass and artificial features are unsuitable, rather that there is appropriate access for children to interact with the natural environment and natural vegetation.

Authorised officers may talk to the approved provider about using natural elements that reflect the local natural environment. Allergies and other health and safety issues should be considered by the approved provider when creating and maintaining the natural environment.

3.6 Shade

The approved provider must ensure adequate shading over areas for both active and passive outdoor play. Shade may be provided by large trees, heavy shade cloths and solid roofs.

 

 

[National Regulations, Regulation 168 ]

In determining what level of shade is ‘adequate’, authorised officers will consider whether there is enough shade for the number of children at the service.

The approved provider must ensure policies and procedures are in place in relation to sun protection.

General transitional provisions – shade

[National Regulations, Regulations 248, 249 ]

Regulation 114 does not apply:

  • to a centre-based service delivering a preschool program in a school and in a class where a full-time education program is also being delivered to school children
  • to a declared approved service, if the service did not comply with regulation 114 on 1 January 2012 (1 August 2012 in WA) and was not required to comply with a similar requirement immediately before that day.

Regulation 114 applies:

  • to a declared approved service once the premises are renovated or the service approval is transferred under section 58 of the National Law.
Visit Cancer Council Australia for advice on natural and constructed share options specific to each state and territory, and recommended sun protection policies and practices at www.cancer.org.au.

Premises designed to enable supervision

[ National Regulations, Regulation 115 ]

The approved provider of a centre-based service must ensure that the premises (including toilets and nappy change facilities) are designed and maintained in a way that enable supervision of children at all times they are being educated and cared for, having regard to the need to maintain the rights and dignity of the children.

Authorised officers may look at all design elements, including the use of windows and partitions. For example, low toilet partitions in bathrooms used by young children will maintain privacy while allowing supervision to be maintained.

In services that educate and care for children over preschool age, it is not intended that educators be able to view children while they are using the toilet.

The design of the premises should support monitoring and adequate supervision of sleeping infants and children. For sleep rooms, windows should be kept clear and not painted over or covered with curtains or posters. Red Nose Australia recognises continuous supervision, in which an educator is in sight and hearing of a sleeping child at all times, represents best practice. There may be exceptional or extenuating circumstances or certain service settings where continuous supervision is not achievable at all times, for example, if an educator working alone is attending to another child’s needs. Approved providers must assess and mitigate risks associated to ensure children are adequately supervised. In all cases, safe sleep practices and regular physical checks must continue to be implemented. CCTV and viewing windows cannot replace physical bed-side checks. 

If the authorised officer has concerns about the design of the premises, they may discuss with the approved provider what strategies are in place to work around design issues and to ensure adequate supervision is maintained at all times.

Authorised officers may talk to the approved provider about how the design of the premises guides educators in deciding where to position themselves to ensure their ability to supervise children.

General transitional provisions – supervision

[ National Regulations, Regulations 248, 249 ]

Regulation 115 does not apply to a centre-based service delivering a preschool program in a school and in a class where a full-time education program is also being delivered to school children.

Centre-based services

Regulation 115 does not apply:

  • to a centre-based service delivering a preschool program in a school and in a class where a full-time education program is also being delivered to school children
  • to a declared approved service, if the service did not comply with regulation 115 on 1 January 2012 (1 August 2012 in WA) and was not required to comply with a similar requirement immediately before that day.

Regulation 115 applies:

  • to declared approved services when the premises are renovated or the service approval is transferred under section 58 of the National Law.

It does not apply if the renovation is in an area not being used for the education and care of children, whether or not it is used to operate the service.

3.7 Indoor space requirements

Note: This regulation only applies to centre-based services and family day care venues (not residences).

 

National Regulations, Regulation 107   NSW    WA    SA   ]

The service premises must have at least 3.25 square metres of unencumbered indoor space for each child being educated and cared for at the service.

Areas such as passageways, bathrooms and nappy change areas, bottle preparation areas, space set aside for the use or storage of cots, staff or administrative rooms, storage areas and any space not suitable for children are not counted as unencumbered play space. The area of a kitchen is not counted as unencumbered space unless it is primarily used by children as part of an educational program.

The area of a verandah may be included in calculating the area of indoor space with the written approval of the regulatory authority (see Applications and Approvals). A verandah that is included in calculating the area of outdoor space cannot be included in calculating the area of indoor space.

Indoor space requirements do not apply to centre-based services with respect to a child or children who are being educated and cared for in an emergency (see Operational Requirements – Staffing arrangements).

Indoor space must be exclusively available to the education and care service at the time it is operating – not shared with other ad hoc care facilities or schools, if it is included in the required indoor space.

Where authorised officers are trying to determine whether the kitchen is primarily used by children as part of an educational program, they may consider the following factors:

  • Is the kitchen established as an educational space, i.e. is it set up with educational equipment suitable for children?
  • Is the kitchen safe for use by children, i.e. are knives and electrical equipment out of reach of children?
  • Is the kitchen used to prepare food for children, i.e. is a cook using the kitchen to prepare children’s meals?
  • What proportion of the operating hours of the service is the kitchen used in delivering the educational program, i.e. is the kitchen used every day or for one hour a week?

Furniture in home corners, mobile open shelving offering toys and equipment directly to children, and chairs and tables, are not considered to encumber the play space, as they are an integral part of children’s play and are moveable.

Indoor space is calculated on total unencumbered space available, not room by room.

3.8 Ventilation and natural light

 

National Regulations, Regulation 110 ]

Indoor spaces must be well ventilated, have adequate natural light and be maintained at a temperature that ensures the safety and wellbeing of children.

Natural ventilation can be provided by open windows and doors. If natural ventilation is insufficient or not possible, indoor space may be ventilated with an air conditioning system. Natural light may be let in through windows, doors and skylights.

Indoor temperatures should be maintained at levels that keep children visibly comfortable. Consideration should be given to ambient temperatures and children and educator response to the temperature. Children are more likely to show signs of distress at high temperatures rather than low ones.

Visit RedNose for information on the appropriateness of temperatures for sleeping rooms at www.rednose.com.au.

3.9 Glass

 

National Regulations, Regulation 117 ] WA

If a glazed area, such as glass panelled doors (internal and external), low level windows, mirrored door panels, windows in stair wells or glass panelled balustrades within a family day care residence or approved venue, is accessible to children and situated at or below the height of 0.75 metres above floor level, the following is required:

  • safety glazing if required by the Building Code of Australia, or
  • treatment with a product that prevents glass from shattering if broken (such as safety film), or guarding with barriers that prevent a child from hitting or falling against the glass.

Any glass surface under 0.75 metres must be approved safety glass or must not be accessible to children. For services in WA, any glass surface under one (1) metre must be approved safety glass or must not be accessible to children.  

Examples of glazed areas may include: shower screens, display cabinets, glass top dining tables, glass top outdoor tables, glass top bedside tables, mirrors, mirrored tables, wardrobe doors, any doors and side panels that have a glazed section.

This includes windows that are accessible to children from any approved space, both indoors and outdoors. While some rooms may not be accessible to children, their windows may be accessible to children from the approved outdoor space.

Visit Kid Safe Australia for more information on safety at www.kidsafe.com.au.

3.10 Administrative space

 

 

 [ National Regulations, Regulation 111 ]

The approved provider of a centre-based service must ensure that there is adequate administrative space to conduct the administrative functions of the service, consult with parents, and conduct private conversations.

A separate room is not required, but space must be set aside for administrative purposes.

Authorised officers may talk to the approved provider about providing areas for the preparation of educational programs and educator, other staff, and volunteer breaks. This is not a legislative requirement under the National Law and Regulations but it is recommended. There are industrial conditions about break areas in some states and territories. Authorised officers are not responsible for checking compliance with industrial conditions.

3.11 Toilet and hygiene facilities

National Regulations, Regulation 109 ]

The approved provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that the service provides education and care to children in a way that maintains at all times, the dignity and rights of each child (see regulation 155). This includes when children are using toilets.

Adequate, developmentally and age-appropriate toilet, washing and drying facilities must be provided. The location and design of the toilet, washing and drying facilities must enable safe use and convenient access by children.

When considering whether the facilities enable convenient access by children, authorised officers may look at whether:

  • fixtures and joinery (for example, taps) can be comfortably reached and used by children
  • there are enough toilets for the number of children at the service (children should not be required to wait, more than occasionally, to use the toilet)
  • children can get to a toilet from both inside and outside the service reasonably quickly.

In some services catering for children preschool age or under, a potty or over-toilet seat may be appropriate. If the toilets and hand washing facilities are not designed for use by young children, there should be appropriate mechanisms in place to support children’s access to toilet and hand washing, for example, stable steps.

If potties are used, see the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publication Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services for best practice information at www.nhmrc.gov.au.

3.12 Nappy change facilities

Note: This regulation applies to centre-based services that educate and care for children who wear nappies.

 

 

National Regulations, Regulation 112 ]

Adequate and appropriate facilities must be provided for safe and hygienic changing and disposal of nappies.

If any children are under three years of age, there must be at least one sturdy, properly constructed nappy changing bench.

Adequate hand cleansing facilities for adults must be available in the vicinity of the nappy change area.

Nappy change facilities must be designed, located and maintained in a way that prevents unsupervised access by children. A half door or child-proof gate may be used to prevent unsupervised access.

In checking whether there is an adequate number of nappy change tables, authorised officers may consider the number of children wearing nappies. There should be a sufficient number to ensure children’s needs are being met in a respectful, appropriate and timely manner.

See the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publication Staying Health: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services for information on hygienic nappy change and hand washing practices at www.nhmrc.gov.au.

3.13 Laundry and hygiene facilities

National Regulations, Regulation 106 ]

Services must have, or have access to, laundry facilities or other arrangements for dealing with soiled clothing, nappies and linen, including hygienic facilities for storage prior to their disposal or laundering, that are adequate and appropriate for the needs of the service. The laundry and hygiene facilities must be located and maintained in a way that does not pose a risk to children.

If there is no laundry on the service premises, authorised officers may look at whether arrangements are in place at the service for dealing with soiled clothing, nappies and linen.

See the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publication Staying Health: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services for information on hygienic nappy change and hand washing practices at www.nhmrc.gov.au.

3.14 Premises, furniture, materials and equipment

Safe, clean and in good repair

 

 

National Regulations, Regulation 84D, Regulation 103 ]

The premises and all equipment and furniture used in providing the education and care service must be safe, clean and in good repair. This requirement only applies to the part of a family day care service that is used to provide education and care.

When looking at family day care services, authorised officers will only examine the part of a family day care residence or residence that is used for education and care, including looking at how the approved provider ensures children are prevented from accessing other areas of the premises.

Best practice guidance from recognised authorities (such as Red Nose Australia and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) for safe sleeping environments and bedding are considered in decisions about appropriate bedding and equipment for each child. Red Nose Australia recommends that, for children under 12 months of age:

  • always place baby on back for sleep
  • keep baby’s head and face uncovered
  • sleep baby in a safe environment – in a safe cot, with a safe mattress (firm, clean, well-fitting and flat)

Children’s mattresses should be firm and flat with secure bedding and free of loose or soft items.

Bassinets must not be on the education and care service premises (including centre based care and family day care) at any time that children are being educated and cared for by the service. 

Portacots should only be used for temporary, short-term arrangements, not for regular use for children enrolled at an education and care service. According to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission guidelines, portacots are designed for brief, temporary use and are more susceptible to wear and tear. Portacots should not be used as permanent sleeping equipment due to potential risk of harm to children.

Authorised officers may talk to approved providers about using appropriate furniture to assist in minimising accidents and enhance the development of independence, confidence and self-esteem in children. They may suggest approved providers consider the surface, corners, weight and stability of furniture and equipment used. For example, very young children should be provided with chairs that support the child to sit safely, rather than a backless stool.

Use of soft fall under equipment

Any impact-absorbing surface provided under or around equipment for children’s use should comply with relevant Australian/New Zealand Standards relating to playground surfacing specifications.

There is no one ideal impact absorbing surface. Authorised officers with concerns may talk to the approved provider about how they chose the soft fall material. The approved provider should be able to demonstrate the fall height, geographical and climatic conditions and maintenance were considered.

Approved providers should be able to obtain information from the supplier of the equipment or surfacing material about compliance with Australian/New Zealand Standards.

Storage of any harmful cleaning or similar products

National Regulations, Regulation 106 ]

Laundry or hygiene facilities on the service premises must be located and maintained in a way that does not pose a risk to children. If laundry facilities are located in areas which children can access, the authorised officer may discuss with the approved provider what steps are being taken at the service to keep hazardous materials out of reach of children. For example chemicals, soiled clothing, nappies, and linen should be stored where children cannot access them. This also applies to the laundry of a family day care residence which may be a thoroughfare to the backyard.

Visit the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Kids Health webfor fact sheets on children’s safety (www.kidshealth.schn.health.nsw.gov.au).

3.15 Sufficient furniture, materials and equipment

National Regulations, Regulation 84D, Regulation 105 ]

Each child must have access to sufficient furniture, materials and developmentally appropriate equipment suitable for the education and care of that child.

Sufficient furniture, materials and appropriate equipment must be available to meet the range of interests, ages and abilities of all children, to avoid overcrowding and ensure children do not have to wait for long periods to participate. There should be sufficient resources to support the implementation of the educational program and the participation of all children in the program.

Authorised officers may also consider whether there are enough cots or other appropriate bedding to cater for young children attending the service; suitable storage, play mats, soft toys, and changing tables. Bassinets must not be on the education and care service premises (including centre based care and family day care) at any time that children are being educated and cared for by the service. Portacots should only be used for temporary, short-term arrangements, not for regular use for children enrolled at an education and care service.

3.16 Assessments of family day care residences and approved family day care venues

 

 

National Law & Regulations, Section 47, Regulation 116 ]

The approved provider of a family day care service must conduct an assessment (including a risk assessment) of each proposed residence and family day care venue of the service before education and care is provided to children at the residence or venue, to ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of children is protected. 

As part of this assessment, the approved provider of a family day care residence or venue located in a multi-storey building with other occupants, must consider whether the residence or venue is located on a floor that provides direct egress to an assembly area to allow the safe evacuation of all children, including non-ambulatory children. Ideally, the family day care educator should then use this assessment to inform the emergency and evacuation procedure. For examples of direct egress, refer to the definition of ‘direct egress’ in the Glossary.

If the application for service approval or amendment of service approval includes a request for approval of a proposed venue, the approved provider must include their initial assessment as part of the application. Regulatory authorities must have regard to the suitability of the proposed venue, and the site and location of those premises, when determining an application for service approval for a venue. Regulatory authorities may also have regard to the suitability of the proposed venue when determining an application for amendment of service approval. If the proposed venue is to be located in a multi-storey building shared with other occupants, then for each storey on which the venue is proposed to be located, the regulatory authority must consider whether there is direct egress to an assembly area to allow the safe evacuation of all children, including non-ambulatory children.    

In addition, when determining a request for approval of a proposed venue, regulatory authorities consider whether exceptional circumstances exist for the family day care service to operate at the venue (see Applications for service approval including request for approval of a family day care venue).

After the initial assessment, the approved provider must conduct assessments at least annually. Failure to conduct a required assessment attracts a penalty of $2,200.

The matters listed below must also be considered as part of an assessment.

Matters that must be considered in an assessment of a family day care residence or venue

The safety, cleanliness and repair of premises, furniture and equipment

Fencing

The sufficiency of furniture, materials and equipment

Adequate laundry facilities or other arrangements for dealing with soiled clothing, nappies and linen

Adequacy of toilet, washing and drying facilities

Adequacy of ventilation, natural light

Glass safety issues

The suitability of the residence or venue according to the number, ages and abilities of the children who attend or are likely to attend the service

The suitability of nappy change arrangements for children who wear nappies

The existence of any water hazards, water features or swimming pools and compliance with the fencing requirements of the participating jurisdiction that applies to fences around swimming pools in which the residence or venue is located

Any risk posed by animals

Space requirements (3.25m2 of indoor space and 7m2 of outdoor space for each child) – venues only

Direct egress to an assembly area for residences or venues located in multi-storey buildings.

The approved provider must require each family day care educator to advise them of:

  • any proposed renovations to the residence or venue
  • any changes in their residence or venue that may affect the matters considered as part of the assessment of the premises
  • any other changes to the residence or venue that will affect the education and care provided to children as part of the family day care service.

Under the National Law, a family day care residence is a residence at which children are educated and cared for by a family day care educator as part of a family day care service. A residence is defined as the habitable areas of a dwelling. A family day care educator need not reside at the residence from which they provide education and care.

Family day care educators are required to display a diagram showing the areas of the family day care residence or venue indicating the areas of the residence or venue suitable for the provision of education and care to children. The diagram should include existence of any water hazards, water features or swimming pools at or near the family day care residence or venue. 

The approved provider must also have a policy and procedure on the assessment of proposed family day care venues and residences, as well as reassessment of approved venues and residences (regulation 169), that ensures that venues are suitable for the education and care of children and support their safety, health and wellbeing.

Assessing the suitability of a family day care venue

In addition to the matters that must be considered as part of an assessment (listed in the table above), the approved provider should have regard to the following additional matters when considering the suitability of a proposed venue:

  • whether the venue meets the operational requirements under the National Law and National Regulations
  • whether the venue:
    • ensures the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending the service
    • promotes the rights and best interests of each child
    • improves the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending the service (as per objectives and guiding principles of the National Law, section 3)
  • any relevant local planning, development and building laws (administered by the local authority).

Consideration of local planning, development and building laws

Any building proposed to be used as a family day care venue must comply with relevant planning and development requirements imposed by the local authority (for example, local council). Requirements can depend on the local authority but typical considerations may include matters not set out in the National Regulations, such as:

  • specific ratios for car spaces
  • maximum land lot sizes
  • maximum allowable occupancy rates
  • hours and days of operation.

The approved provider should contact their local authority for information about any requirements that may apply to the building they are seeking to use as a family day care venue, including for example, classification of buildings under the Building Code of Australia.

  • any proposed renovations to the residence or venue
  • any changes in their residence or venue that may affect the matters considered as part of the assessment of the premises
  • any other changes to the residence or venue that will affect the education and care provided to children as part of the family day care service.

3.17 Responsibilities of the approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator

Requirement

Approved provider

Nominated supervisor

Family day care educator

Offence

Infringement notice

Compliance direction

Waiver

Sleep and rest (regulation 84A)      

Risk assessment for purposes of sleep and rest policies and procedures (regulation 84C)

   

 

 

 
Prohibition of bassinets (regulation 84D)    
Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair (regulation 103)        

Fencing (regulation 104)

   

 

Access to sufficient furniture, materials and developmentally appropriate equipment (regulation 105)

       

 

Laundry and hygiene facilities (regulation 106)

       

 

Space requirements – indoor space (regulation 107)

   

 

Space requirements – outdoor space (regulation 108)

   

 

Toilet and hygiene facilities (regulation 109)

           

Ventilation and natural light (regulation 110)

   

 

Administrative space (regulation 111)

       

Nappy change facilities (regulation 112)

   

 

Outdoor space – natural environment (regulation 113)

       

Outdoor space – shade (regulation 114)

   

 

Premises designed to facilitate supervision (regulation 115)

       

Assessments of family day care residences and approved family day care venues (regulation 116)

   

 

 

Glass (regulation 117)

       

Prescribed information to be notified to approved provider by family day care educator (regulation 176A)