Some early childhood services are regulated under the Victorian Children's Services Act 1996 rather than the National Quality Framework. Learn more about the Reform of the Children's Services Law and Regulations.
The Act and Regulations were recently amended, and the information on this page has been updated to include these changes.
What services are regulated under the Children’s Services Act?
The services regulated under the Victorian Children's Services Act 1996 include:
- limited hours services (where children attend for a short period of time)
- former Budget Based Funded services not funded for Child Care Subsidy
- occasional care services
- early childhood intervention services
- mobile services
- school holiday care programs that operate for up to 28 days a year.
Services providing education and care on a regular basis (family day care services, long day care services, outside school hours care services, preschools (kindergartens), and school holiday care programs that operate for 28 or more days a year) are regulated under a scheme known as the
National Quality Framework, not under the state law.
Service approval types
There are two types of service approval under the CS Act and Regulations:
- Limited hours services – provide education and care to each child for not more than 3 hours per day and 6 hours per week
- Occasional care services – all other services. These services have no limit on the number of hours that children can be educated and cared for.
Former licensed children’s services that existed before 17 May 2020 had their previous licence automatically converted to one of the two service approval types on that date.
New regulatory requirements for children’s services
The children’s services regulatory regime was reformed in 2020 to align it with the National Quality Framework (NQF), where appropriate. The reform simplified licensing arrangements for providers and ensures more consistent minimum standards across the two regulatory regimes.
Most of the new regulatory requirements have applied to children’s services since May 2020. Other changes started from 1 January 2022. The department has developed
resources to help services meet the new regulatory requirements.
For more information about the reform of the children’s services regulatory regime visit Reform of Children’s Services Law and Regulations.
Resources for children's services
The department has developed the following new resources to help children’s services to understand the new requirements and prepare for the end of the transition period
As the regulatory requirements for children’s services have now been aligned with the NQF, much of the guidance provided for NQF services can now be applied to children’s services.
Please note that the assessment and quality rating process and the National Quality Standard do not apply to children’s services.
Information for children's services considering moving to the National Quality Framework
Some children's services may be considering moving to the NQF regulatory regime. The fact sheet below sets out matters to help make a decision:
Register of children's services
To find an approved children’s service, check the
Victorian Children's Services Act Register (xlsx - 136kb).
For education and care services that operate under the NQF, check the
Download the relevant form from the list below.
Complete the form and sign it, attaching all the information and documents requested.
Please read the
Guide to Digital Signatures (pdf - 201.18kb) (docx - 138.75kb) when completing your form.
How to submit forms
Completed applications and notifications must be submitted by email to the Regulatory Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org for assessment and processing.
Forms will not be processed unless:
- all sections are complete
- all supporting documents and colour copies of identification are supplied
- prescribed fees are paid, where applicable.
Each form outlines the required information and documentation for the application or notification.
Providing false or misleading information to the Regulatory Authority is an offence under the Act.
Other form(s) relating to your provider approval
For any changes or updates that relate to your provider approval
Other forms, applications and notifications relating to your service approval
For any changes or updates that relate to your service approval
Other documents relevant to your provider or service approval, and guidelines regarding usage of forms
Fees and penalties
In line with the Monetary Units Act 2004, all fees are expressed in fee units rather than dollars and automatically indexed each year on 1 July. The value of a fee unit each year is fixed by the Treasurer. For 2021-2022 it was $15.03.
As the Children's Services Act 1996 and Children's Services Regulations 2020 do not express fees in dollars, the tables below convert the fee units to dollar amounts. The fees in this table are effective from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023. There is no GST payable on fees.
View the 2022-23 fees amounts below.
2022-23 Children's services fees
In line with the Monetary Units Act 2004, all penalties are expressed in penalty units rather than dollars and automatically indexed each year on 1 July. The value of a penalty unit each year is fixed by the Treasurer. For 2021-2022 the amount was $181.74.
As the Children's Services Act 1996 and Children's Services Regulations 2020 do not express penalties in dollars, the tables below convert the penalty units to dollar amounts. The penalties in these tables are effective from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, there is no GST payable on penalties.
View the 2022-23 penalty amounts below.
Children's services penalties
For more information, read Indexation of fees and penalties.