Early childhood sector structure


Many organisations, governing bodies, authorities and associations make up the early childhood sector.


​Knowing who is responsible for what and where to start when considering early childhood education and care is important. Use the information on this page as a starting point to help you understand some of the key bodies and organisations within the sector.

Queensland Department of Education

The Department of Education is the regulator​y authority responsible for administering the National Quality Framework (NQF) in Queensland, and also the regulatory authority for services regulated under the Education and Care Services Act 2013. Education and care services that operate under the NQF include kindergartens, long day care, family day care and outside school hours care.

Education and care services that operate under the Education and Care Services Act 2013 include certain limited hours care services, occasional care services, services that receive funding under the Disability Services Act 2006, and services that formerly received budget-based funding from the Australian Government and that are excluded from the scope of the NQF.

The department's roles include:

  • regulating early childhood education and care services in Queensland, including provider and service approvals, amendments and waivers, monitoring and compliance and assessment and rating
  • funding services to support the early childhood education and care of Queensland children
  • driving national early childhood education and care reforms in Queensland
  • promoting successful transitions from home to early childhood education to school, for children and families
  • investing in evidence-based programs to support early learning and development.

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the national authority overseeing the National Quality Framework (NQF) in education and care services in Australia. ACECQA works with regulatory bodies in each state and territory that are responsible for the administration of the NQF. In Queensland, the NQF is administered by the Queensland Regulatory Authority, being the Chief Executive of the Department of Education.

ACECQA's key roles include overseeing:

  • the National Law and National Regulations
  • the National Quality Standard
  • the assessment and quality rating process
  • the national learning frameworks
  • qualification requirements for working in the early childhood sector.

Peak organisations

The following peak organisations can help with things like recruitment and how to provide a quality program.

  • Family Day Care Association of Queensland (family day care services)
  • Queensland Children's Activities Network (outside school hours care services)
  • Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (long day care services)
  • Kindergarten services can contact their central governing body.

Local government authorities​

Local government authorities are responsible under the applicable local government planning scheme for approving development applications, including how an existing building or piece of land is used. If you are considering setting up a new service please check with your local go​vernment​ for relevant approval processes. Local government authorities are also responsible for approving food licenses for licensable early childhood services. Please check with the local government authority where the service is located.

Australian Building Codes Board

Nationally consistent building standards are incorporated into the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for all planned or new Queensland centre-based education and care services (including those undertaking assessable building works) in scope of the National Quality Framework. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is the national authority responsible for the BCA. If you are planning a new service or making amendments to an existing service please check with the ABCB regarding your requirements and responsibilities.

Queensland Department of Health

The Queensland Department of Health ​provides information on food licensing requirements for early childhood education and care providers under the Food Act 2006. It also provides information on vaccination requirements for services.

Australian Government Services Australia

The Services Australia supports eligible families with the cost of education and care through the payment of childcare assistance. Childcare assistance is administered under the Australian Government'​s Family Assistance Law. Subsidies include the Child Care Subsidy and the Additional Child Care Subsidy.

Blue Card Services

Legislative requirements relating to the operation of an education and care service include working with children checks prescribed under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 administered by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. Please contact Blue Card Services for information about blue card compliance.

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) is responsible for developing and revising syllabuses and guidelines for kindergarten to Year 12. Its key roles for the early childhood sector include:

  • setting the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline (QKLG)
  • accrediting kindergarten guidelines
  • transition statements.

Please refer to the QCAA for questions about the approved learning guidelines for kindergartens, transition statements, or if you have developed an alternative kindergarten learning guideline that you would like the QCAA to assess for accreditation.

Last updated 06 September 2023