Determining a Fair Outcome: The role of the review process in ensuring the Accreditation Decision accurately reflects the practices of the child care centre
Korea Institute of Child Care & Education
Computing, Health and Science
Psychology and Social Science, Social Justice Research Centre
Standards of quality can influence the way childcare is both implemented and viewed by families. In Australia, childcare services are required to participate in a process of accreditation in order for their families to be eligible to receive Commonwealth government Childcare Benefit payments that assist them with the cost of childcare. The accreditation process determines if the practices the services implement are in line with agreed elements of quality care practices and such practices protect the rights of the child. Of equal interest however, are the strategies the nation has in place to protect the child care service itself from potential unfair/unjust assessment of its practices. The concepts of procedural fairness, if the service considers an unjust/unfair assessment of their practices has been made, are rightly addressed in the Australian Child Care Accreditation System (CCAS). This final step within CCAS is one which is quite unique in the international context. This paper addresses the framework, implementation, and issues that need to be faced in delivering a fair and just review of a service’s Accreditation Decision, along with the role the review process plays in the nation’s accreditation system for childcare. Data from review applications submitted by services over a nine year period was analysed to determine if childcare services who considered the assessment of their practices was unfair/unjust, was supported following an evidence based review of its practices by the review agency. Conclusions highlighted a range of issues such as assessment practices, subjectivity of assessment and relevance of assessment to context that require further research. Such findings can be utilized to inform policy development on the ongoing development of holistic accreditation systems internationally.