ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

23 October 2015

NEW CHILD-CARE FACILITY BY-LAW TO IMPROVE STANDARDS OF CHILD CARE FACILITIES

EThekwini Municipality is passionate about improving the lives of all residents including the youth. The recent gazetting of the Child-Care Facilities By-Law will ensure children left in the care of crèches and day care centres across the City will be adequately cared for in hygienic, safe and clean conditions.

The by-law, which is expected to come into effect early next year, aims to ensure that operators of all child care facilities are certified to so that they are age-appropriate and suitable for the well-being of children by imposing minimum safety standards.

The by-law states that a child care facility cannot operate unless a health compliance certificate has been issued where the facility cares for six or less children. Facilities that have more than seven children have to be registered in terms of the Children’s Act.

Application for a health compliance certificate must be made to the Municipality in writing by completing and submitting an application form.
The by-law also seeks to impose record keeping and other administrative requirements on operators as well as to prohibit certain conduct and to allow for the withdrawal of the compliance certificate.

Existing child care facilities can be granted an extension between nine months to a year in order to comply with this by-law. A compliance certificate will only be issued if the official is satisfied that the premises and services available comply with the by-law.

Every health compliance certificate must contain the maximum number of children which can be cared for on the premises and their ages, the hours the facility operates and the date the health compliance certificate expires.

The certificate must be displayed in a visible position on the premises.

The certificate is not transferable and becomes invalid if the certificate holder dies or ceases to operate the facility. If the operator changes premises they have to reapply for another health compliance certificate for the new premises.

Every premises where a child care facility is operational must comply with the requirements of the National Building Regulations. The structure has to be stable, waterproof, sufficiently ventilated, supplied with a portable fire extinguisher and does not have features that pose a risk to children.

A separate indoor play area must be provided on every premises where a facility is operated. The area must be used only for play, provide not less than 1.5 square metre of free floor space per child, separate children under the age of three from older children and have windows providing sufficient lighting and ventilation.

Adequate toilets must be provided for the children. Where there is a sewer system and water at the facility, one approved toilet must be provided for every 20 children.

In cases where there is no sewage or running water an approved toilet on the premises or immediately adjacent to the premises must be provided. An approved alternative is an approved chemical toilet that is hygienic with one provided for every eight children.

Toilets must have adequate supply of toilet paper, soap and paper towels which are accessible to the children. Toilets for children over the age of three must be approved and screened-off and separate to the toilets of children younger than three. Separate toilets must be provided for children of school going age. There must also be an adequate changing area for children under three who still wear diapers.

Adequate washing facilities must be provided for the children. At facilities with sewage systems and running water, hand washbasins must be provided. There must be one basin for every 20 children that are placed at a convenient height and are supplied with running water.

In cases where there is no water or sewage systems washing facilities must be supplied with a minimum of 25 litres of potable water a day in a potable container that can be closed and is accessible. One suitable container must be supplied for every 20 children.

Facilities that provide meals for children from a kitchen on the premises must have a separate area set aside. The by-law lists in detail the requirements to operate a kitchen from the day care facility. Meals cannot be provided to children at the facility unless they have been given prior approval by the Municipality.

Other requirements include adequate fencing to ensure the children’s wellbeing and a sick bay area equipped with a first aid kit. Portable pools are not allowed on any premises where a child care facility is operated.

Importantly, the by-law lists the ratio of child to care workers:
  • 0-2 years requires one care worker, 1 assistant to eight children
  • 2-3 years requires one care worker, 1 assistant to 15 children
  • 3-6 years requires one care worker, 1 assistant to 20 children
  • Six years and older requires one care worker to 30 children
The by-law also outlines the administrative duties of the person running the facility which includes applications to attend the facility, keeping a general register and incident and communication book.

A person found guilty of an offence under this by-law can be fined between R500 to R3 000 depending on the offence committed. The fine for operating a facility without the required health compliance certificate is R2 500 while not displaying the certificate is R1 500.

The Municipality may in its discretion withdraw a health compliance certificate where applicable.

ENDS

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Sisilana on 031 311 4855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za