Long day care
Long day care services can be a good choice for working parents. They provide education and care for children from birth to 12 years old.
Facts about long day care services
- Usually operate at least 10 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for at least 48 weeks a year.
- Provide full- or part-time care.
- Before and after school care and vacation care may be offered (check with your long day care service).
- An approved kindergarten program taught by a qualified early childhood teacher may be offered. Talk to your service about their programs and the qualifications held by staff.
- Each long day care service has its own fee structure - contact the service to discuss their fees.
- Children may be grouped together according to their age and developmental stage.
- Services must comply with a range of legislative requirements including physical environment requirements (e.g. space, facilities and equipment) and staffing requirements including minimum educator-to-child ratios.
Quality standards and assessments
Long day care services are assessed under national quality standards and their ratings are published online. The quality rating helps you decide which one to choose.
Find out more information on how services are assessed.
A small number of services are regulated under the Education and Care Services Act 2013.
Find a long day care service
Find a long day care service - in your local area.
You can also search for more details about vacancies and fees through the mychild.gov.au website.
If you are unsure which service to select, see:
Some long day care services can enrol children at any time; others may have a waiting list. You will need to contact the service to discuss their enrolment policies.
When you enrol you will be asked to provide:
- your child’s full name, gender and address
- details about the child’s parents, carers or guardians
- details of any court orders, parenting orders or parenting plans
- details of any special considerations - e.g. cultural, religious or dietary requirements or additional needs
- details of your child’s cultural background, language spoken at home
- proof of date of birth - birth certificate or visa
- health and immunisation status
- details of the people allowed to pick up your child and who to notify in an emergency.
Rebates and financial assistance
You may be eligible for rebates and financial assistance such as QKFS Plus Kindy Support and the Child Care Subsidy to help cover the cost of fees.
Fees will depend on the length of time your child is in care and the service provided.
Talk to a long day care service about their fees. You will pay the same fees regardless of whether your child is in a kindergarten program or not.
You can also look for the long day care service’s Statement of Fees on display at their premises or on their website.
Kindergarten programs are delivered by many long day care services.
Read about an example of a kindergarten program in a long day care service, to get a better understanding.
Your child must be 4 years old by June 30 in the year they start.
Before your child starts you should contact your service and discuss practical matters such as:
- what you will need to bring each day for your child
- will meals and nappies be provided or will you need to bring your own
- whether they can bring their favourite toy or blanket.
You should also let the provider know about any special requirements your child has before they start (although it is recommended you discuss this before enrolling your child).
Find out how to prepare for your child’s first day.