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Child care

You might need to leave your child in someone else’s formal care – that is, child care – if you have work, study or other commitments. Choosing the right child care and early learning service can be a difficult decision for families. It will depend on your family’s needs and the environment in which you and your child will feel most comfortable. All child care providers must be qualified, or be working towards an approved qualification in education and care.

Child care provides many benefits to newly arrived children and their parents. Many Australian families use these services.

Child care and early learning services help children develop social, emotional and learning skills. Children from different backgrounds will learn English and become familiar with their new environment. High quality early childhood learning and child care programs can improve a child’s overall development, education and employment outcomes later in life.

Having child care means you can attend training, study or go to work, which supports your family and increases the chance that your settlement will be successful.

There are different types of child care services available. These include long day care, family day care, occasional care and in-home care, as well as vacation care and outside school hours care for primary school aged children.

Long Day Care is sometimes referred to as centre-based care and is generally provided in a building or part of a building that has been created specifically for use as a child care centre.
Family day care is where a registered educator provides care for other people’s children in their own home.
Occasional care is suitable for families who do not need child care on a regular basis.
In-home care is a flexible form of child care where an approved educator provides care in the child's home. This is only available to children in certain circumstances.
Children can also attend preschool or kindergarten programs within a child care centre that prepare children for school. These are listed in the White Pages telephone directory.

Phone the National Child Care Access Hotline on 1800 670 305 or go to the MyChild website at to find out about:

approved child care services in your area
types of child care available and possible vacancies
government help with the cost of approved child care
services for special needs children
services for children from diverse cultural backgrounds.

AMEP child care

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) provides free child care for children under school age only while their parents attend an AMEP class. After completing AMEP, you must review your child care arrangements as other programs do not cover these costs.
Working in child care

Child care in Australia is well-regulated to ensure children receive the best possible care. The Australian federal government and state and territory governments are jointly responsible for child care.

Child care services and the educators who work there must comply with various laws and regulations, such as those related to child education, safety and wellbeing, and child care payments.

If you are approached to take part in formal child care activities, be aware of these and other obligations. You will also need to have, or be working towards, an approved qualification in education and care, typically a Certificate III in Children’s Services, through a Registered Training Organisation, such as Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes.

You must declare your income to Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office. These requirements apply to all types of formal child care.

There are serious penalties for child care services and educators that do not comply with their obligations, ranging from monetary fines to criminal investigation and prosecution.

For more information on becoming a child care educator, go to your state or territory government’s education department website.

For more information please go to 

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