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Stand-alone care

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Stand-alone care is care that is regularly provided for not more than 6 children under the age of 13, of which not more than 4 are under school age, in a home or place (e.g. a hall or church), for a fee or reward.

Stand-alone care does not include care in the child’s own home, or care by relatives or close friends.

Stand-alone care does not require a service approval, but is regulated under the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act) and Education and Care Services Regulation 2013 (ECS Regulation).

The Department of Education can monitor stand-alone care providers, investigate incidents or complaints about stand-alone care services and take compliance action, where necessary.

Stand-alone care providers set their own fees. Read about fees and funding, including eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy.

Requirements

Age of provider

Stand-alone care providers must be at least 18 years of age.

Blue card

Stand-alone care provider

Under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, stand-alone care providers must hold a current blue card (as a business operator (PDF, 322KB)) or exemption card. They must also meet a set of general obligations (PDF, 308KB) and implement a child and youth risk management strategy that covers 8 minimum requirements.

Adult residents

From 1 July 2019, adult residents (i.e. those aged 18 years or over) of a home in which stand-alone care is being provided must hold a current blue card or exemption card.

They must apply for a blue card as an adult resident/occupant (PDF, 302KB).

Existing adult residents must apply for a blue card or exemption card within 3 months from 1 July 2019, to continue residing in the home where stand-alone care is to be provided. If a resident is turning 18, they should ensure their application for a blue card is submitted at least 3 months (and up to 6 months) before their 18th birthday.

If stand-alone care is not provided in the stand-alone care provider’s home, but is instead provided at a place other than a home (e.g. a hall or church), residents of the stand-alone care provider’s home will not require a blue card.

‘No Card, No Start’

At present, an individual working in paid employment in a regulated child-related environment must have submitted an application for a blue card or exemption card before they can start working with children. Business operators and people volunteering in regulated child-related environments must hold a blue card before they can start working with children.

From early 2020, all people, including paid employees, must hold a blue card before they can start working with children.

Learn more about the changes to the blue card system.

Insurance

Under the ECS Act and ECS Regulation, stand-alone care providers must hold public liability insurance of at least $10 million. Prospective stand-alone care providers can contact their current home and contents insurer or an insurance broker for more information about public liability insurance when caring for children in the home.

Number of children

Under the ECS Act, stand-alone care providers must limit the number of children in care to not more than 6 children under 13 years of age, of which only 4 can be under school age.

A child who is being cared for at the home or other place by an adult person who is not the stand-alone care provider is not counted towards the number of children allowed in the stand-alone care service.

School-age children, whose parent is the stand-alone care provider, are not counted towards the number of children allowed in the stand-alone care service.

Other considerations

Health and safety

The ECS Act requires services to be operated in a way that protects a child from harm and promotes the child’s health and wellbeing.

Premises

Stand-alone care providers should ensure that the place where care is being provided is safe and suitable for children, including checking that:

  • furniture and equipment meets safety standards, and is secure, clean and in good repair
  • hazards (e.g. poisons, knives, plastic bags and electrical plugs and cords) are out of reach of children
  • glass that is accessible to children is safety glass or otherwise treated or guarded
  • each part of the premises has been assessed to remove hazards and minimise risk of harm (visit Kidsafe Queensland for more information)
  • the premises is secure, so that children are not able to leave, except in accordance with policies
  • toilet and hygiene facilities are age-appropriate
  • pool fences and gates meet local council regulatory requirements
  • the premises has a working telephone and stocked first aid kit.

Learn more about health and safety-related requirements in early childhood education and care services.

Policies, procedures and documentation

Stand-alone care providers should have policies and procedures in place, and maintain associated documentation. Consideration should be given to ensuring, for example, that:

  • there is a plan in place in the event of sickness, accidents and emergency evacuations
  • risk management strategies are in place for excursions, and appropriate consent has been obtained
  • emergency services contacts are accurate and easily accessible
  • up-to-date information is kept about each child being cared for, including:
    • name, age and address
    • appropriate authorisations for the delivery and collection of children
    • parent/guardian contact details in the case of emergency – including the name, address and telephone number of another responsible adult who could be contacted in an emergency
    • details of any medical or health concerns, food allergies or other special requirements, including documented medical management plans for children with specific health care needs, allergies or relevant medical conditions that address the storage and administration of medications and include consent for administration of medication and medical treatment, if required.

Qualifications

At a minimum, stand-alone care providers should have current first aid, emergency anaphylaxis and asthma management qualifications.

Programs

The Early Years Learning Framework (PDF, 702KB) and My Time Our Place: Framework for School-Aged Care (PDF, 542KB) provide guidance for developing educational programs for children attending early childhood education and care services.

Further information

The above information is provided as a guide only. Before commencing operation of any early childhood education and care service, you should seek your own legal advice to ensure you are aware of your legal responsibilities.

Legislation and guidelines
Learn more about legislation and guidelines.

Blue Card services
Learn more about blue card requirements.

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Last updated 30 July 2019