Licencing and regulation of Indigenous childcare services
Early Childhood Australia Inc.
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
The focus in this article is on licensing and regulation requirements of Indigenous childcare services and the impact they may have on the provision of quality child care for the children, families and communities being served. Specifically, it focuses on key factors that both contribute towards, and serve as barriers to, the provision of quality care through licensing and regulation requirements. The paper draws upon a national consultation funded by the Australian Government and conducted throughout 2005 and 2006 to respond to this issue. In recognition of the heterogeneous nature of Indigenous communities and families, the research methods included focus groups, community consultations and interviews with other stakeholders in the childcare sector nationally in order to identify these key factors. An analysis of national and international literature on the research theme was conducted. The research findings highlight a number of key factors in the licensing and regulation requirements that serve as barriers to the provision of quality care for Indigenous children. These include the lack of culturally appropriate child care that capitalises on Indigenous knowledges (including the contextual nature of ‘quality’) and community capacity building, the lack of flexibility required to address some of the unique needs of different communities in Australia, and the lack of adequate support and resources.