It is important that you feel sure your children will be safe in the care of any person or early childhood service (child care) that you leave them with, whether this is on a regular basis or only a single occasion.
When arranging care for your child, consider:
- is the person who will be caring for my child suitable to be responsible for children?
- is the environment (e.g. building, yards) safe for children?
- do I feel sure that my child will be well cared for?
What do you need to consider?
If you are regularly paying for education and care (child care), it is important that you enrol your child in a centre-based or family day care service approved and regulated by the Department of Education and Training (the Department). These approved services must ensure that:
- there are always enough educators at the service to supervise your child properly
- that the building and outdoor areas are safe for children
- there is always someone with first aid training at the service to help respond to emergencies
- owners and staff members have working with children checks to help make sure that they are suitable people to be responsible for children
- educational programs are provided to promote the learning and development of each child at the service.
Approved services must comply with minimum safety standards as well as the requirements of the National Quality Framework developed to provide quality education educational experiences tailored to meet the developmental needs and interests of each individual child.
Regulated early childhood services
Kindergartens, long day care, family day care and outside school hours services operate under the National Quality Framework and must meet the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010(National law), the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National regulations) and the National Quality Standard. For information, see:
Some early childhood services continue to operate under the Children’s Services Act 1996 and Children’s Services Regulations 2009, mostly occasional care such as care at sports and leisure services, community hubs and neighbourhood houses are regulated under this law.
Occasionally a person or organisation advertises an early childhood service (child care) that should be regulated but isn’t.
If you believe a service is operating illegally, or you are unsure, contact the Department on 1300 1300 307 415 or by email:
How do I find a regulated service?
The Starting Blocks website developed by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) provides information about regulated early childhood services (child care) available in your area, searchable by location and care type. It also provides information on fees charged by each service, their vacancies and the rating against the seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard. For more information, see:
The Department maintains a register of early childhood services (child care) that operate under the Children’s Services Act, see:
Your local council or maternal and child health nurse should be able to give advice about regulated services available in your area. More information on regulated childcare in Victoria is available at:
How can I be sure a service is regulated?
Services that are regulated are required to display a copy of the service approval or licence at the main entrance of the service. Family day care educators have to display a copy of the service approval at the entrance of the family day care residence while education and care is being provided.
Informal care arrangements
There are many types of care available some regulated by the Department and others that are not such as baby sitters, nannies, relatives and friends. For more information, see:
Further resources for families
The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) have developed resources to better assist parents to make informed choices when they leave their children with others. These can be downloaded from the Commission website.