Long day care

Long day care services can be a good choice for working parents. These services 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 Early Childhood Finder website.

If you are unsure which service to select, see:

Enrolment requirements

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:

  • the child’s full name, date of birth, gender and address
  • the name, address, and contact details of each known parent of the child
  • details of any people:
    • authorised to collect the child
    • to notify in an emergency involving the child if a parent cannot be immediately contacted
    • authorised to consent to medical treatment of, or to authorise administration of medication to the child
    • who can authorise an educator to take the child outside the education and care service premises
  • details of any court orders, parenting orders or parenting plans in relation to the child or access to the child
  • the language used in the child’s home
  • details of any special considerations, e.g. cultural, religious or additional needs
  • other relevant health information, e.g. details of the child’s registered medical practitioner, any specific healthcare needs, allergies, medical management plans, or dietary restrictions and immunisation status.

Rebates and financial assistance

You may be eligible for rebates and financial assistance such as Kindy savings 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

Kindergarten programs are delivered by many long day care services.

Your child must be 4 years old by June 30 in the year they start.

Check kindy-age requirements

Take a 360 virtual tour of a kindy room

Getting started

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 support your child on their first day.