The State Government is seeking public comment on potential changes to regulations governing family day care residences that have swimming pools, spas and water features.
The process is examining options following the drowning of Lachlan Mitchell at a family day care residence in 2015.
A 2018 coronial inquest made a number of recommendations regarding family day care educators that operate in residences that have swimming pools, spas and water features.
Most of the recommendations would require some form of regulation change to be enacted.
An initial consultation process – the preliminary requirement for any change in regulation – sought feedback from Lachlan Mitchell’s family, the family day care sector and key industry stakeholders.
A more extensive process will now be undertaken to assess implications of potential changes to regulations.
As of December 2018, there were 36 family day care approved providers in Western Australia – responsible for 1,256 homes where family day care educators operate. Of these, 191 are currently registered as having a pool on their property.
These family day care residences are inspected annually by the family day care approved providers and may be subjected to unannounced inspections by the State’s Education and Care Regulatory Unit.
The consultation period commences today (March 18) and is open for eight weeks. A copy of the consultation documents and information on how to make a submission can be found at https://www.communities.wa.gov.au/FDCswimmingpoolconsultations
As noted by Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
“As the Community Services Minister, I want to ensure there are strong regulations in place to protect our youngest children when they are in child care, while also ensuring the sector can continue to provide family day care options to the community.
“The State Government has already undertaken an initial consultation with the family day care sector in regard to these recommendations.
“I have also been speaking with Lachlan’s mother, Melanie Mitchell, and understand her views on what changes she would like to see – some of these comments are included in the consultation documents.
“It is important we fully understand the impact of any potential changes on families and on the sector.”