Make a complaint about child care or children's services

On this page

If you are concerned about an education, care, or licensed children's service, you should raise your concerns with the service first.

This may be:

  • the approved provider or licensee of the service
  • any person who controls or manages the service
  • or a staff member at the service.

It's their responsibility to deal with all complaints and to notify the Department, if required.

If the service you want to make a complaint about is:

  • Aboriginal Early Years Services​​​​
  • ​Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS)
  • Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services
  • a parenting service, like supported playgroups
  • a partnership, like Best Start

Then see: Complain about early childhood services that run under state law. These services have a slightly different complaints process.


The service is required to deal with and respond to your complaint in a discreet, effective and timely way. They must also tell the Department within 24 hours if your complaint alleges that:

  • a child's health, safety or wellbeing has been compromised
  • the relevant legislation has been contravened.

Direct complaints can be made to the Department where the complaint alleges that:

  • the safety, health or wellbeing of a child or children was or is being compromised while that child or children is or are being educated and cared for by the approved education and care service
  • the relevant legislation has been contravened. 

Raise an issue or complaint

Visit the centre where your child is being cared for

You can enter the service at any time during operational hours to talk to staff about your child or any concerns you have about your child’s care.

Ask to see the centre’s written procedures for dealing with complaints

All children's services must have a written procedure that states who you need to speak to about your complaint, how they will respond and which complaints the Department must be advised of.

The name and the telephone number of the person who deals with complaints must also be displayed at the entrance to the service or in the case of family day care, at the principal office of the family day care office.

Contact the Department directly

You can make a complaint directly to the Department regarding the operation of a children's service at any time. In this situation, an authorised officer from your local regional office will assess how serious the complaint is and then take further action. An authorised officer will always investigate any complaints that allege a child’s health, safety or wellbeing has been compromised or there has been a contravention of the relevant legislation. Among other things, the authorised officer may telephone the service, inspect the service, question staff members, take written statements, conduct formal interviews, or seize evidence when investigating complaints.

Contact the Licensed Childcare/Children's Services help line on 1300 307 415.

Remember children's services staff and educators have an obligation to deal with issues in a positive, constructive and professional manner. You should also deal with any concerns in a positive and constructive manner when speaking with staff and educators.

There is more information on regulations and quality assessments that most early childhood services must run under.

Things to consider before you make a complaint

Before you approach your child's kindergarten teacher or child care provider you should:

  • be clear about the topic or issue you want to discuss
  • focus on the things that are genuinely affecting your child
  • always remain calm and remember you may not have all the facts relating to the circumstances of the topic or issue you wish to discuss
  • think about what would be an acceptable outcome for you and your child
  • be informed; check the relevant legislation and the service’s policies or guidelines, where relevant.

Lodge a complaint in writing

You can use the written procedures that the children's service provides to help you to put together all the information you need to submit a complaint in writing.

If you are having difficulties filling out the form you can contact an authorised officer in your regional office or speak to the Licensed Childcare/Children's Service help line on 1300 307 415. For contacts of your regional office, see: Our office locations.

When you make a formal complaint

Writing down your complaint is a useful way to put all of your information together and clarify your concerns. It also means you’ll have a clear record of the complaint.

All notifications to the Department are treated confidentially. Your identity cannot be disclosed unless you give written consent or a court grants leave for this to occur.

If you provide your name and contact details when you make a complaint, the Department will provide you with details of the outcome of their investigation.