The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care regulates early childhood education and care services to ensure they are safe and achieve required legislative standards.
In 2008-09, 2547 childcare services in Queensland were licensed under the Child Care Act 2002 including:
- 596 school-age care services
- 84 home-based services (family day care)
- 1867 centre-based services, including long day care services and kindergartens.
A significant national program of reform is underway to improve quality assurance systems for early childhood education and care services. In 2008-09, the office worked with the Australian Government through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to progress the National Quality Agenda, which will continue as a priority in 2009-10.
The office conducted 8334 visits to childcare services in 2008-09, and the results of these visits revealed a high level of compliance with legislative requirements.
In 2008-09, 76 compliance notices were issued to licensed child care services. Compliance notices deal primarily with less serious licence breaches such as broken toys, leaking taps or failure by the centre's management to keep its program of activities updated.
While stronger enforcement measures are available for more serious breaches, no licence suspensions or revocation measures were invoked in 2008-09.
In 2008-09, 830 complaints were made to the office regarding childcare services. The majority of these complaints related to:
- health and safety concerns
- staffing and qualifications
- accidents and incidents
- group sizes.
All licensed early childhood education and care services in Queensland were visited by an authorised regulation officer in 2008-09. Almost 89 per cent of services received at least two visits.
Following the collapse of ABC Learning in November 2008, the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care worked with the Australian Government to minimise the impact on Queensland families.
Parents and children in ABC Learning Centres across Queensland received continuity of care through seamless transfers of licences to new service providers. Additionally, the office supported parents in finding alternative care for children where centres closed.
The Child Care Act 2002 is being reviewed in the context of the commitment by COAG to the National Quality Agenda. As a matter of priority, the review has examined options for the publication of non-compliance information in Queensland.