Most education and care services in Queensland are regulated under the
National Quality Framework (NQF). These services include centre-based services (e.g. long day care, kindergartens and outside school hours care) and family day care services.
The Queensland Early Childhood Regulatory Authority (Regulatory Authority) is responsible for approving early childhood education and care providers and services in Queensland under the NQF.
Opening a new service
Individuals or organisations seeking to operate an education and care service in Queensland must understand what regulatory and funding requirements apply before opening a service.
To operate an early childhood education and care service, there are 2 types of provider and service approvals.
Provider and service approval from the Queensland Regulatory Authority (National Law)
This approval deems the applicant suitable to ensure the health, safety, wellbeing and educational outcomes of children. The Regulatory Authority assesses applications to ensure National Law requirements are met and prospective providers can demonstrate they understand their obligations.
Provider and service approval from the Australian Government (Family Assistance Law)
This approval deems the applicant suitable to administer Child Care Subsidy (CCS) under the Family Assistance Law. To be eligible to administer CCS, the applicant must demonstrate they understand their obligations under Family Assistance Law and must have provider and service approval under the National Law from the Regulatory Authority.
Applications for both National Law and Family Assistance Law approvals can be lodged online via the
National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA IT System) and they will be assessed by the Regulatory Authority and the Australian Government at the same time.
Before applying, it is recommended that prospective providers complete the National Law and Child Care Subsidy Approval eLearning course developed by Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) to assist applicants understand the legal obligations of operating a child care service. External link
To operate an early childhood education and care service in Queensland, a person or entity (such as a corporation, eligible association or partnership) must first obtain a provider approval, which is ongoing and recognised nationally.
The approved provider is legally responsible for ensuring any education and care service they operate complies with the requirements of the NQF.
An individual applying for provider approval must satisfy the Regulatory Authority they are fit and proper to provide an education and care service (section 12 of the Education and Care Services National Law).
If the applicant is not an individual, the Regulatory Authority must be satisfied as to the fitness and propriety of:
the applicant (e.g. board or executive committee members as the controlling mind of the entity)
each person with management or control of the service that the applicant is to operate (this may include all or some of the board and potentially other key officers of the corporation).
As part of this assessment process, the Regulatory Authority may request additional information, which may include completion of an online assessment to demonstrate knowledge of the National Law and National Regulations and the responsibilities and obligations of an approved provider. The Regulatory Authority may also interview the applicant.
To operate a centre-based or family day care service under the NQF, an approved provider must hold a
service approval. An application for a service approval can be made at the same time as an application for a provider approval, but the service approval cannot be granted until the provider approval is granted.
To apply for service approval, an approved provider needs to:
- complete an application with all prescribed information (regulation
26 of the National Regulations)
- pay the fee
policies and procedures for the service ready to submit on request (regulation 168)
- if applying for a family day care service, submit with the application copies of the additional policies and procedures required under
- if applying for a centre-based service, provide documentation relating to the
service premises (regulation 25).
When assessing the application, the Regulatory Authority will consider the range of matters outlined in
section 47 of the National Law. This includes, but is not limited to, whether the applicant is capable of operating the education and care service, the adequacy of the
policies and procedures of the service and the suitability of the
service premises (centre-based services only).
Policies and procedures
It is the approved provider’s responsibility to ensure the required policies and procedures, as outlined in regulation
169, are adequate.
Before applying for service approval:
- ensure your policies and procedures are adequate by following the department’s
policies and procedures guidelines
- ensure they are effectively customised for your service's unique circumstances as required.
Inadequate policies and procedures may constitute an unacceptable risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children, which is one of the grounds for refusal to grant a service approval.
The service premises must meet the requirements of the
National Regulations. If it does not, or the Regulatory Authority deems the proposed premises poses an unacceptable risk to children’s safety, health and wellbeing, the application may be refused. This is regardless of whether the local council has approved the proposed site and development.
When establishing an education and care service, the Regulatory Authority expects approved providers to ensure the design of the service premises is in line with the requirements of the National Law and National Regulations, in addition to the requirements of the Building Code. Approved providers may apply for a waiver in certain circumstances where they are unable to meet the requirements, after all efforts have been made to meet the requirements.
The requirements for unencumbered indoor and outdoor space are important considerations when planning an education and care service. The Regulatory Authority has developed additional detailed
guidance to help services plan and understand requirements for both indoor and outdoor space.
After all efforts have been made to meet the requirements of the National Law and National Regulations, approved providers who are having difficulty meeting operational requirements may apply for a waiver. Waivers may be sought for:
Transferring a service approval
National Law, an approved provider must seek the consent of the Regulatory Authority to transfer a service approval to another approved provider.
Transferring a service approval
- Service approval section in the
Guide to the National Quality Framework
Education and Care Services National Law
- Sections 10 and 11—provider approval requirements
- Sections 43 and 44—service approval requirements
- Section 49—grounds for refusal to grant service approval
- Sections 58–69— transfer of service approval
- Sections 81–82—application for transfer of cancelled service.
Education and Care Services National Regulations
- Regulations 14 and 15—provider approval requirements
- Regulations 24 and 25—service approval requirements for centre-based services
- Regulation 26—service approval requirements for family day care services
- Regulations 36–38—transfer of service approval
- Regulation 168—education and care service must have policies and procedures
- Regulation 169—additional policies and procedures—family day care service
- Regulation 184—storage of records after service approval transferred.
Help and support
If you have questions about provider and service approvals, please contact us at email@example.com.