Freedom of vaccination choice

A leading not-for-profit childcare provider is still welcoming non-immunised children following the recent passing of the Australian Government’s ‘No Jab No Pay’ law.

Churches of Christ Care, operator of 20 licenced and accredited childcare services throughout Queensland, advised parents and guardians of its decision this week.

Children, Youth and Families General Manager Jane Carter said the organisation would not refuse children who are not immunised, despite recent legislative changes giving childcare providers the right to do so.

“We welcome children and families from all walks of life and we choose not to discriminate on the basis of vaccination,” Ms Carter said.

“While unvaccinated children are not excluded, we do encourage all families to vaccinate children in accordance with the recommended immunisation schedule.”

To manage the appropriate placement of both immunised and non-immunised children, centres are taking a number of precautions including enhanced records maintenance and monitoring. The organisation will consider the most appropriate placement of children given their immunisation status. Special consideration will be given to babies who have not completed their initial immunisation schedule.

Families will be informed of any outbreaks of a vaccine preventable disease. If any such outbreak occurs, non-vaccinated children will be excluded from care.

The increased vulnerability of children to infection as immunity builds is also recognised.

“We take seriously the risk of the spread of illness to children, educators and families,” Ms Carter said.

“Families and centres both have roles to play in preventing spread of infectious diseases.”

Families are expected to adhere to conditions contained in an agreement signed for each child, including keeping sick children home.

While non-immunised children are accepted to Churches of Christ Care’s centres, the Australian Government will not allow the organisation to offer a fee reduction for Child Care Benefit or Rebate. This means that families will be charged full fees if no proof of immunisation status is provided.

The organisation also encourages the use of the ‘VacciDate’ app, available for Apple and Android devices, to assist families monitor the immunisation status of children.

Established in 1930, Churches of Christ Care is one of the largest and most diverse not-for-profit organisations in Australia, operating more than 150 care services throughout Queensland and Melbourne, with the support of over 3,200 staff and 1,200 volunteers.

While Christian values of kindness and acceptance are reflected in the supportive, loving environment created for the children, all Churches of Christ Care early childhood services are non-denominational and celebrate cultural diversity.

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Posted January 5, 2016 in News