Children's services regulated under state law

Information about early childhood services that are regulated under the Victorian Children's Services Act 1996, rather than the National Quality Framework.

Services regulated under the Children’s Services Act

Children’s services offer care to children on a non-regular, or ad hoc basis. They include:

  • limited hours services (where children attend for a short period of time)
  • occasional care services
  • early childhood intervention services
  • mobile services
  • school holiday care programs that operate for less than 28 days a year
  • certain services that formerly received funding under the Commonwealth Government’s Budget Based Funded program or indigenous Advancement Program and were not funded for Child Care Subsidy(opens in a new window).

Children's services operate under the:

A children’s service provides education and care for four or more children under the age of 13 years when parents of the children are not physically present and:

  • where the service is provided for fee or reward, or
  • while the parents of the children use sports, leisure or other facilities provided by the provider of the service for the children.

Services that provide education and care to children on a regular basis are regulated under the National Quality Framework(opens in a new window), not under the state law. These services include:

  • preschools (kindergartens), long day care services, outside school hours care services, and family day care services
  • school holiday care programs that operate for 28 or more days a year.

Some services and activities for young children are not included in either regulatory scheme(opens in a new window).

Service approval types

There are two types of service approval under the Children’s Services Regulations (CS Regulations):

  • Limited hours services – services that 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.

These services are often in settings such as neighbourhood houses and recreational facilities.

Regulatory requirements for children’s services

Most of the regulatory requirements for children’s services are the same as those for centre-based education and care services under the NQF.

However, there are some areas where the requirements differ:

  • The National Quality Standard does not apply to children’s services.
  • There is no assessment and quality rating of children’s services against the National Quality Standard.
  • There is no requirement for children’s services to have an educational leader.
  • There is no requirement for children’s services to have a quality improvement plan.

There are also some slightly different requirements for staffing (educator qualifications and early childhood teacher attendance) and outdoor space, depending on the type of service approval.

Educator qualifications

The minimum staff requirements and educator to child ratios for children’s services are the same as those for centre-based education and care services under the NQF.

The requirements for educator qualifications in Occasional Care services are the same as for centre-based services in the NQF. However, the requirements are slightly different for Limited Hours services.

For Limited Hours services

All educators educating and caring for children must have completed at least an approved Certificate III level Education and Care qualification.

For Occasional Care services

Of the educators required to meet the required educator to child ratio:

  • at least 50% of the educators must have, or be actively working towards an approved diploma level education and care qualification
  • all other educators required to meet the required educator to child ratio, must hold, or be actively working towards at least an approved Certificate III qualification.

Approved qualifications

Approved qualifications are those approved by Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)(opens in a new window).

Educators without approved qualifications whose historical minimum training was recognised under the 2009 Regulations will continue to have their training recognised. These educators undertook a specific bridging course instead of a Certificate III.

Early childhood teacher requirement

Children’s services that provide education and care to any child for more than 30 hours per week on average over any given 4-week period, must have an early childhood teacher in attendance for at least 50 per cent of the time the service is operating, or 20 hours per week (whichever is lower).

First aid, anaphylaxis and asthma management training

The requirements for first aid, anaphylaxis and asthma management training in children’s services are the same as for centre-based services in the NQF.

Read about First aid, anaphylaxis and asthma management training(opens in a new window).

Indoor and outdoor space requirements for children’s services

The requirements for indoor space in children’s services are the same as for centre-based services in the NQF:

  • All children’s services must provide 3.25 square metres of indoor space per child.
  • Limited hours services are not required to have an outdoor space.
  • Occasional Care services must provide 7 square metres of outdoor space per child, the same as the requirement for centre-based services in the NQF.

Before the children’s services regulatory regime was aligned with the NQF in 2020, some service license types were not required to have outdoor space.

Occasional care services that were former Limited Hours Type 2 services that do not have 7 square metres of outdoor space per child can operate under the occasional care service type while maintaining the 5 hours per day and 15 hours per week limitation on providing education and care for any child.

Verandah space is treated the same for Children’s services as NQF services:

  • It may be included in either an indoor or outdoor space calculation with the approval of the Regulatory Authority
  • But it can be calculated for only one (either indoor or outdoor) of those spaces, not both.

Regular Transportation

The CS Regulations will be amended to align with requirements under the NQF relating to the regular transportation of children on transport provided or arranged by the care services.

Read more about the NQF transportation requirements for early childhood services(opens in a new window) including videos and other resources.

Persons with Management or Control of a service (PMC)

From 1 July 2023, the definition of persons with management or control (PMC) in the Children’s Services Act 1996 (CS Act) will be broadened to include persons who:

  • have authority or responsibility for, or significant influence over:
  • the planning, direction or control of:
    • the activities of the service or
    • the delivery of the service.

From 1 July 2023, a PMC could be:

  • employed by the provider OR
  • a person employed by a third-party management company associated with the approved provider OR
  • a volunteer OR
  • a person without a formal or contractual role who has significant influence over the planning, direction or control of the activities or the delivery of the service.

Providers must complete the following forms:

  • AP08 Notification of change to information about approved provider form
  • AP02 Declaration of Fitness and Propriety

and submit them by email to: licensed.childrens.services@education.vic.gov.au(opens in a new window)

Read more about Persons with Management or Control.

Resources and guidance for children's services

The following resources can be used by children’s services:

As the regulatory requirements for children’s services are aligned with the NQF, much of the guidance provided for NQF services can be applied to children’s services.

ACECQA’s Guide to the National Quality Framework(opens in a new window) and other resources including information about the approved learning frameworks

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 approved providers make a decision:

Register of children's services

To find an approved children’s service, check the: Register of children's services(opens in a new window).

For education and care services that operate under the NQF, check the national registers(opens in a new window).

Forms

Download the relevant form from the list below.

Complete the form and sign it, attaching all the information and documents requested.

For help completing the form, read the:

How to submit forms

Completed applications and notifications must be submitted by email to the Regulatory Authority at licensed.childrens.services@education.vic.gov.au for assessment and processing.

Incomplete forms

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.

Provider approval

Other form(s) relating to your provider approval

For any changes or updates that relate to your provider approval

Service 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

Fees

In line with the Monetary Units Act 2004, all fees in the Children's Services Act 1996 and Children's Services Regulations 2020 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.

The tables (in the Children's service fees document) convert the fee units to dollar amounts. The fees are effective from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024. There is no GST payable on fees.

2023-24 Children's services fees

Penalties

In line with the Monetary Units Act 2004, all penalties in the Children's Services Act 1996 and Children's Services Regulations 2020 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.

The tables in the Children's service regulatory penalties document below convert the penalty units to dollar amounts. The penalties are effective from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024. There is no GST payable on penalties.

Children's services penalties

For more information, read Indexation of fees and penalties(opens in a new window).as14

Legislation

Updated