Many caregivers will agree that Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) providers are a wonderful help to families. On Wednesday 27th July, we give a big shout-out to educators and staff on Outside School Hours Educators Day!
Providing a fun and caring environment filled with play and activities, OSHC services also have a responsibility to provide a safe environment. Just like in early learning centres and schools, the safety of children and young people is paramount in OSHC services.
So how do parents and carers ensure that the OSHC service we have chosen is safe for our kids?
The National Quality Standards and Outside School Hours Care Services
The National Quality Standards (NQS) apply to OSHC providers and include 7 Quality Areas that are important outcomes for children and set a benchmark for not only early childcare education, but also Outside School Hours Care services.
Services are assessed and rated by their regulatory authority against the NQS, which can assist families with making informed choices about what service is best for their child. To view information on services near you, including their ratings in relation to the Standards, visit acecqa.gov.au. You can also read more about the National Quality Standards here.
One of the standards is Quality Area 2 (2.2.3): Children have the right to experience quality education and care in an environment that safeguards and promotes their health, safety and wellbeing.
Management, educators, family day care educator assistants and other staff members must be aware of current child protection policy and procedures, including their legal responsibilities, and be able to act when required to protect any child who is at risk of abuse or neglect.
Just like early learning environments, OSHC services have a responsibility to ensure that they are aware of their roles and responsibilities to identify and respond to every child at risk of abuse and neglect.
How Can OHSC Providers Improve their Standards?
It’s not just about ensuring providers have the correct policies and procedures in place. Staff must feel empowered to act and this is achieved by consistent training and professional development.
Bravehearts has worked with many OSHC services with facilitated training workshops and online learning. The content presented can assist services in meeting the requirements of the NQS related to child protection.
To enquire about training and eLearning for your OSHC service, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit braveheartslearning.org.au