Families FAQs






Under the Education and Care Services National Law, anyone can advertise an education and care service as long as it is an approved service.

A family day care educator can advertise if they make clear they are part of an approved service. Any advertisement must show which approved service it is promoting and include contact details for that service.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

To ensure Australian children get the best possible start in life, all Australian governments have agreed to implement the National Quality Framework (NQF) for Early Childhood Education and Care.
 
The NQF sets consistent, high quality standards for early childhood education and care, and outside school hours care services. It typically covers long day care, preschool, outside school hours and family day care services across Australia.
 
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority or ACECQA guides the implementation of the National Quality Framework across Australia.
 
For more information, see the National Quality Framework section of this website.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations apply to services that educate and care for children aged from birth to 13 years of age. 

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The NQF means there is now a new milestone for children’s education and care in Australia. 
For the first time, every state and territory in Australia is working to achieve the same quality outcomes for children. 
The NQF introduced a new National Quality Standard to improve education and care across major service types like long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten and outside school hours care.
Last updated on Friday 30 May, 2014

 

The NQF is designed to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for all children, wherever they live in Australia. 
The NQF covers the critical areas of education, development, health and safety and provides clear and comprehensive information for families about the quality of care services available.
The NQF is about ensuring services are of the highest possible quality and rated to a consistent standard. It focuses on better learning outcomes for children through improved educator to child ratios and new qualification requirements for educators.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The NQF aims to improve quality in children’s education and care services across Australia. One of the ways it does this is to set high educator to child ratios, so each child benefits from more individual care and attention.

More information on improved educator to child ratios is available here.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The NQF typically covers the following service types:

  • long day care
  • family day care
  • preschools/kindergartens, and
  • outside school hours care.
The National Regulations refer to these services as:
  • family day care, or
  • centre-based services.
There may be some exceptions in your state or territory. The information sheet 'Who is covered' provides more information.
 
You can find out who is not covered here.
 
Contact your regulatory authority for more information.
Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

Family day care is an approved form of child care that is provided in the family day care educator’s own home. Family day care educators are early childhood education and care professionals, registered with a family day care service that is responsible for approving, supporting, training and advising its educators. Education and care is provided by an individual educator who is an approved early childhood education and care professional working with small groups of no more than four children under school age.

A centre-based service is an education and care service other than a family day care service. This typically includes most long day care, preschool and outside school hours care services that are delivered at a centre.

Last updated on Friday 15 May, 2015

 

Some services excluded by the National Law include schools and preschool programs delivered in schools, personal arrangements (for example a nanny), services principally conducted to provide instruction in a particular activity (for example, a sport, language or dance class), services providing education and care to patients in a hospital or medical/therapeutic care service and care provided under a child protection law of a participating jurisdiction.
 
Some other services are excluded by the National Regulations. 
 
For more information, download our information sheet ‘National Quality Framework who is not covered’ here.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The National Quality Standard (NQS) sets benchmarks for the quality of children’s education and care services in Australia. The NQS highlights the importance of children’s development and education as well as relationships with families. 
 
Services are assessed and rated against seven quality areas, 18 standards and 58 elements that make up the NQS. Each service receives an overall NQS rating and a rating for each of the seven quality areas.
 
For more information, see the National Quality Standard page in the NQF section of this website.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

There are five overall ratings:

  • Significant Improvement Required
  • Working Towards National Quality Standard
  • Meeting National Quality Standard
  • Exceeding National Quality Standard
  • Excellent
Providers with services rated Exceeding can apply to ACECQA for the fifth rating of Excellent
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

For more information see the National Registers and the assessment and rating information available here.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Caring for children is an enormous responsibility. Australia has always had safe, regulated child care. The introduction of the NQF has raised the bar to improve education and care outcomes. Part of this process is assessment and rating. Regular assessment and rating ensures the new standards are being implemented, and over time, will measure the quality improvements at every service.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

Family day care and centre-based services, including most long day care, preschools/kindergartens and outside school hours care are assessed against the NQS.
 
Some services are excluded by the National Law and National Regulations. For more advice, download our information sheet ‘National Quality Framework who is not covered’ here.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

To gain a complete view of current performance, assessors may consider the service’s history and planning records when compiling background information about each service.

The authorised officer may consider:

  • provider approval
  • service approval
  • notifications
  • complaints
  • investigations
  • conditions on provider approval or service approval
  • waivers
  • inspections
  • compliance action
  • other intelligence, and
  • previous assessment or accreditation visits (where relevant).

The outcomes of past concerns can also be relevant.

More information is available in the Assessment and Rating chapter of the Operational Policy Manual for Regulatory Authorities.

Last updated on Wednesday 19 August, 2015

A centre-based education and care service must have at least one of the following people present at the service at all times the service is educating and caring for children:

  • the approved provider, or
  • the nominated supervisor, or
  • a certified supervisor placed in day to day charge.

This person is sometimes referred to as the 'responsible person' for the service.

For a family day care service, one of these three people (the approved provider, the nominated supervisor or a certified supervisor placed in day to day charge) must be available to provide support to the family day care educators at all times the service is educating and caring for children. 'Available' includes being available by telephone.

For more information, read our information sheets on Nominated Supervisors and Certified Supervisors.
Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

A centre-based service approval states the maximum number of children that may be educated and cared for at any one time, and the approved provider must ensure this number is not exceeded (except for children being educated and cared for in an emergency under regulation 123). An approved provider must also ensure the maximum number of children is not exceeded during excursions. Children are considered as being educated and cared for by a service if they are enrolled at the service and have been signed in.

Ratios are not set specifically for excursions, however you have to meet the same minimum ratios that apply while at the service. You must consider if you will need extra people to provide adequate supervision at all times and a risk assessment should be completed before an excursion.

To assist you, ACECQA has designed a template excursion risk management plan that is available for download here. More information on excursion ratios is contained in the Guide to the National Law and National Regulations.

Last updated on Friday 30 May, 2014

There must be an appropriate number of first aid kits at each education and care service. When deciding how many kits are needed, approved providers must consider the number of children and staff, and where kits will be kept.

First aid kits should be checked regularly to make sure they are fully stocked and products have not expired. The Guide to the National Law and National Regulations has information to help decide what items to include and procedures for keeping kits current (see pages 61-62). 

Last updated on Friday 25 July, 2014

 

Services that provide food and drink for children must ensure it is based on individual children’s growth and development needs. The service must also take into account any specific cultural, religious or health requirements. Services must ensure that food and drinks are nutritious and that they provide enough for children. See regulation 79 of the National Regulations. 
 
In addition, all services must have a medical conditions policy that sets out procedures for meeting children’s health needs, including any special dietary requirements. A full list of matters that the medical conditions policy must cover is at regulation 90 of the National Regulations
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

When developing the National Quality Framework, the Australian, state and territory governments agreed standards must be set very high and allow room for continuous improvement.
 
All services should aim to be Meeting or Exceeding the NQS. However, it is realistic to expect that during the transition period to the new system some services will need to improve in certain areas.
 
If a service receives an overall rating of Working Towards, it means the service has not met at least one of the 58 elements in the NQS. 
 
Working Towards does not mean that the service has failed to meet any of the requirements that pose a risk to the health and safety of children. In fact, a service may be Exceeding in a number of quality areas and receive an overall rating of Working Towards.
 
It may take time for services to meet each element required in the new higher standards, which will result in a Meeting or Exceeding NQS rating. This is why the rating of Working Towards is important during the transition phase of the NQF and is expected to apply to many services.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The National Register of services contains quality ratings of children’s education and care services in Australia. They provide an overall rating as well as a rating for each of the seven quality areas that make up the overall rating. 
 
The quality areas are:
  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children’s health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Leadership and service management.
To help you evaluate child care services in your area, check the service’s overall rating and in each of the seven quality areas. This will help you to make a more detailed assessment of the service’s strengths.
Last updated on Tuesday 25 March, 2014

If you have concerns about a service or centre, contact the service’s approved provider or your local state or territory regulatory authority.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

A regulatory authority in each state and territory administers the NQF. In most cases the regulatory authority is the first point of contact for families with concerns about local education and care services.

Click here to find your regulatory authority’s contact details.

ACECQA guides and monitors the implementation of the NQF to ensure consistency across all states and territories.

Go to ACECQA for:

  • information and news on the NQF
  • to subscribe to Family News
  • registers of approved providers, services and certified supervisors (available soon)
  • quality ratings of approved services (available soon).

Click here for ACECQA’s contact details.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Visit the ACECQA website regularly for news, updates and information. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

You can subscribe to receive ACECQA email updates and newsletters here.

For questions about the application of the National Law and Regulations, email enquiries@acecqa.gov.au.

For questions about state or territory specific areas of the National Law and Regulations, contact your local state or territory regulatory authority.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

We welcome feedback about our services – it helps us improve what we do.

If you have a complaint about a service you have received or a decision we have made, please write to us. Make sure you provide clear information about your concern – what happened, when it happened, who was involved, and what outcome you hope to get from your complaint.

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two working days. We will also advise what steps we will take next, including how long we expect it will take to investigate your complaint if an investigation is required. More information is available in our Customer Service Charter.

If you are not happy with how we have handled your complaint, you may contact the Education and Care Services Ombudsman. For more information, please visit www.necsombudsmanprivacy.edu.au.

If you would like to discuss your options with us, please contact our enquiries team on 1300 4 ACECQA (1300 422 327).

Last updated on Tuesday 4 February, 2014

Each state and territory regulatory authority is responsible for employing their own authorised officers to conduct assessment and ratings visits, not ACECQA.

Last updated on Wednesday 19 March, 2014

Regulation 117 sets glazing requirements for family day care (FDC) services.

It is the approved provider’s responsibility to make sure any glazed area of an FDC residence or venue that is below a certain height and is accessible to children is glazed with safety glass, if this is required under the Building Code of Australia. If the Building Code does not require safety glass, the glazed area must be treated with a product that prevents glass from shattering if broken, or guarded by barriers that prevent a child from striking or falling against the glass.

As the National Regulations were amended on 1 June 2014 to align with the Australian Standard for Glass (AS 1288-2006), the exact requirement depends on whether the premises were approved by the service’s approved provider before or after this date, and whether the premises are a venue or a residence.

In addition, different requirements apply for FDC residences and venues in Western Australia, where the Regulations were amended from 1 December 2014.

FDC residences and venues in all states and territories apart from Western Australia

  • for FDC residences and FDC venues approved before 1 June 2014, the above requirements apply to any accessible glazed area that is 0.75 metres or less above floor level.
     
  • for FDC residences approved from 1 June 2014 onwards, the above requirements apply to any accessible glazed area that is 0.5 metres or less above floor level.
     
  • for FDC venues approved from 1 June 2014 onwards, the requirements for glass depend on the particular type of building and how it is classified under the Building Code. For more information, contact the agency responsible for applying building standards in your state or territory.

FDC residences and venues in Western Australia

  • for FDC residences and FDC venues in Western Australia approved before 1 December 2014, the above requirements apply to any accessible glazed area that is 0.75 metres or less above floor level.
     
  • for FDC residences and venues in Western Australia approved from 1 December 2014, the above requirements apply to any accessible glazed area that is 1 metre or less above floor level


Please also be aware that the Building Code includes other requirements about the size and location of glass panes. Contact the agency responsible for applying building standards in your state or territory for more information.

Last updated on Tuesday 26 May, 2015