Operational Guidelines for Home-based HS22 – first aid qualification condition clause

In 2014 the Ministry of Education and home-based early childhood education (ECE) sector representatives identified an ongoing need for the first aid qualification condition clause in licensing criterion HS22 and developed some operational guidelines for services to follow.

The intent of HS22 is to keep children safe by requiring an adult to be with them at all times who has the skills and knowledge to deal with injuries and illness.

The criterion’s condition clause states:

The clause applies only if access to first aid training is limited due to circumstances beyond the service provider’s control.

If training cannot be accessed, the service provider must make sure the new educator has some first aid knowledge and achieves a first aid qualification within four months of starting work at the service.

Services that apply the clause as a matter of course, or apply it to their existing educators, will not meet the regulatory standard for HS22.

Note: the term ‘educator’ includes but not is limited to home-based educators, CYF caregivers, nannies and au pairs working for a licensed home-based service provider.

How to apply the condition clause

If a service provider believes they cannot access first aid training for a new educator before the educator has children in their care, they should work through the steps below to decide if the condition clause can be applied.

  1. The service provider will record how access to first aid training for the educator is limited due to circumstances beyond the service provider’s control.
  2. The service provider will assess the educator’s existing knowledge of current first aid practices in the care of young children and record this assessment. If the educator’s knowledge is found to be limited, the condition cannot be applied.
  3. The service provider will make sure the educator is booked in for first aid training. The training must be completed and a certificate achieved within four months of the educator’s registration with the service provider.
  4. The educator will give a copy of their first aid certificate to the service provider and will keep a copy at the home care setting. The service provider can also ask the educator to provide a copy of their Record of Learning, which will show that the Unit Standard has been registered on the National Qualifications Framework.
  5. The service provider should also tell parents and caregivers:
    1. their child’s educator does not yet hold a New Zealand recognised first aid qualification,
    2. what steps have been taken to make sure the educator can respond appropriately if a child in their care needs first aid, and
    3. by what date the educator will be first aid qualified.

The service provider is responsible for recording all decisions and actions. This is required under the revised documentation requirements for HS22. There is a template [DOCX, 24 KB] that services can use to record the required information.

The service provider can contact its regional Ministry office for advice and help.

Understanding the elements of the condition clause

First aid qualification

First aid training and qualification for educators means the successful completion of Unit Standard 25459: First aid for young children (as a minimum) and registration of the qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

First aid certificates are only valid for two years. If an educator’s certificate was current at the time of starting work but has since expired, the educator must take a refresher course and get a new certificate.

Circumstances outside the service provider’s control that can limit an educator’s access to training

Circumstances outside the service provider’s control may include the following:

Training provider schedule and/or location

Most service providers should be able to access training for their educators. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) figures indicate there is good national coverage of training providers for Unit Standard 25459.

However, sometimes it can be difficult for new educators in rural and remote areas to access first aid training. Service providers should take this into account before taking on rural or remote educators who are not first aid trained. They should make sure new educators are first aid qualified before they have children in their care. Children in remote areas who need first aid are vulnerable if emergency assistance (e.g. ambulance) is difficult to access.

However, where home-based education and care is needed in rural and remote areas and it is proven that first aid training cannot be accessed before the care is needed, then the service provider may justifiably apply the condition.

Diversity of educators’ ability

Some educators’ limited literacy and/or English language skills might prevent them from easily completing a first aid qualification. In such cases, service providers must assess if the educator can communicate effectively in an emergency (e.g. with 111 emergency operators and attending paramedics) and record their assessment, with other information relevant to the application of the condition clause, before the educator completes first aid training.

Service providers might choose to supplement first aid training with translation or reading/writing support for their educators. This may impact on educators’ ability to access first aid training before they are needed to care for children.

Circumstances outside the service provider’s control do not include the following:

  • cost of training
  • au pairs, when part of a licensed ECE service
  • first aid qualifications not recognised by NZQA as meeting the same standards as Unit Standard 25459.

Sometimes service providers have deferred first aid training or allowed children to be cared for before first aid qualification is achieved for reasons of cost-effectiveness (e.g. waiting to training educators in groups) and the situation for au pairs arriving in New Zealand. However, as a general rule, these circumstances do not meet the criteria for applying the condition clause.

Training for staff and contractors is a cost of running a business in a regulated industry, and is within the service provider’s control.

Likewise, if a New Zealand family is hosting an au pair as part of a licensed home-based ECE service, then it must meet all the terms and conditions of hosting and belonging to the service, including the first aid qualification condition. There is generally enough time to organise first aid training for the au pair before they have sole charge of the children.

The service provider must ensure that educators have knowledge of first aid

There are several ways service providers can assess their educators’ level of existing first aid knowledge. For example, written questions, role playing emergency scenarios, and/or workshops with a practical element. They could get an educator with a current first aid certificate to help with the assessment. The service provider must record this assessment.

In cases where the new educator is working but is not first aid qualified, the service provider may choose to put in place extra support for them. For example, the service’s coordinator could reinforce important aspects of first aid during their regular contacts with the educator and as part of their induction to the service.

The provision of first aid kits and instructions/policies to educators does not meet the intent of HS22 unless the educator also has pre-existing first aid knowledge and/or the service provider puts additional support measures in place for the educator until they receive their first aid qualification.

New educators must gain a first aid qualification within 4 months of starting work at the service

The educator must complete and pass a first aid training course and give a copy of the certificate to the home-based ECE service provider before the end of the fourth month since the educator registered with the service provider. It does not mean they must be first aid qualified within four months of the date they first had children in their care.

If the educator does not gain the qualification within the specified four months, the service provider will be in breach of their licence.

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