A Guide for New Applicants to Operate a
Family Day Care Service
As of 25 May 2009, regulation of all Family Day (b) siblings, who are not the carer’s own children, in
Care (FDC) services in Victoria commenced. All which case no more than 6 siblings may be under 6 years
FDC services are required to be licensed and to of age.
adhere to their obligations under the Children’s
Services Act 1996 (the Act) and the Children’s All FDC services that meet these above definitions must
Services Regulations 2009 (the Regulations). be licensed in order to operate.
Types of licences
This guide will explain some of the key points relevant to
obtaining, and operating a licensed children’s service. The Act provides a specific licence for FDC services.
But, you will also need to familiarise yourself with the Act, Licences for other children’s services are provided for in
as amended on 25 May 2009, and the Regulations and the Regulations.
what they mean for your service before you obtain a
Options for FDC services operating prior to 25 May
Operating an unlicensed children’s service, even for a FDC services that were operating immediately before 25
short period, when the law requires you to have a licence, May 2009 may be eligible for a provisional licence. A
is a serious offence and can incur hefty penalties of over provisional licence is valid for a 12-month period and
$28,000. Advertising an unlicensed children’s service can provides time for existing services to transition to full
incur further penalties of over $14,000. compliance with the Act and Regulations.
Services required to be licensed Further information for FDC services that were operating
With limited exceptions, any service that is a ‘children’s prior to 25 May 2009 may be found in the Act or by
service’ must be licensed under the Act in order to contacting a Children’s Services Adviser at the relevant
operate. Section 3 of the Act defines a ‘children’s regional office of the Department of Education and Early
service’ as a service providing care or education for 4 or Childhood Development (the Department).
more children under the age of 13 years in the absence
Obtaining a licence
of their parents, either for fee or reward or while the
parents or guardians of the children use services or The process for obtaining a licence to operate a FDC
facilities provided by the proprietor of the service. service is outlined briefly below, but you should
familiarise yourself with the full requirements of the Act
A FDC service is defined in the Act as a ‘children’s
and Regulations prior to submitting an application.
service’ providing a network of family day carers, each of
whom provide care and education for up to 7 children An operator of a FDC service must apply in writing to the
(including the carer’s own children). Of these 7 children, Department for a licence. The application must contain
no more than 4 may be under 6 years of age unless the the information required by the schedules to the
children who are under 6 years of age are: Regulations.
(a) students enrolled at preparatory level or above at
0BLicensing Guide 1
The required information includes: Licence term
Applicants for a licence to operate a FDC service have
• details of the applicant and contact person;
the option of seeking a 1-year, 3-year or 5-year licence
• details of the proposed FDC service; term.
• details of all family day carers approved by the
Conditions that may be placed on a licence
The Act places various conditions on a licence to operate
• information regarding the processes proposed to be a FDC service. For example, the Act conditions that a
used by the FDC service to approve family day FDC service be operated in a way that ensures the safety
carers, monitor and supervise family day carers, and of the children being cared for or educated, ensures that
provide training and information to family day carers; the developmental needs of those children are met, and
and supports the health and wellbeing of those children.
• information regarding the places in which children will Section 25E of the Act contains these and other
be cared for or educated. conditions with which your service must comply.
Additionally, the Department is required to obtain detailed Additionally, specific conditions applicable to all FDC
information about the following individuals in order to licences are found in the Regulations. These conditions
determine their fitness and propriety to manage or control relate to the minimum age of family day carers (18
your FDC service: years), the places in which children may be cared for or
educated, the qualifications of FDC staff providing
• the applicant for the licence; supervision of family day carers, and other matters.
• if the applicant is a body corporate, the directors or The Secretary also has the authority to place any other
officers who exercise or may exercise control over conditions on your licence. Other conditions will generally
the operation of the FDC service; and only be placed on a licence to ensure that children are
safe, and that their needs, health and wellbeing are being
• any person nominated by the applicant to manage or
appropriately supported. For example, if a FDC service is
control the FDC service in the absence of the
not supervising its family day carers adequately, a
condition might be placed on the licence, requiring the
The applicant for a licence to operate an FDC service service to meet particular requirements for the
must also permit the Department to inspect any family supervision of carers.
day care venues proposed to be used by the service.
Requirements of the Act and Regulations
Further information about these requirements may be
FDC services must fully comply with the Act and
found in the Regulations and in the licence application
Regulations. Thus, you must become familiar with each
of the provisions of the Act and Regulations that will be
Licence fees applicable to your service. Below is a brief outline of only
a few of the provisions applicable to FDC services.
The applicable fees for applying for a licence to operate a
FDC service may be found in schedule 2 of the Records to be kept
The Act and Regulations require FDC services to keep a
Licence determination period number of records and other documents. These include
child enrolment records; attendance records; medication
Once your licence application is complete, the Secretary
records; accident, injury and trauma records; staff
must inform you within 30 days whether or not your
records; records of family day carers; staff rosters and
application has been successful. If your licence
records of the educational or recreational programs
application is incomplete, or if the Secretary requires
provided. The details required to be kept in these records
further information, examination or testing, this period
may be found in the Regulations.
may be extended by another 30 days.
The Act and Regulations also prescribe the records to be
kept by family day carers and the information that must
be included within each such record. These records
Licensing Guide 2
include an attendance record; child enrolment records; a Where to go for more information
medication record; an accident, injury, trauma and illness Further information about operating a FDC service is
record; and a record of the educational or recreational available at
programs provided by the carer. www.education.vic.gov.au/licensedchildservices. You
may contact the Children’s Services Licensing and
First aid and anaphylaxis management training
Regulations Branch on 1300 307 415 or by email on
All family day carers must be trained in first aid and must licensed.children’email@example.com.
complete such training every 3 years. Yearly CPR
updates are also required.
Additionally, all family day carers must complete
anaphylaxis management training by 1 January 2012 and
then at least once every 3 years thereafter. Yearly
updates on the administration of an adrenaline auto-
injection device are required after this date as well.
However, if a family day carer cares for or educates a
child that has been diagnosed as at risk of anaphylaxis,
that carer must be trained in anaphylaxis management
even if it is not yet 1 January 2012.
Family day care residences and venues
In keeping with the philosophy of family day care, most
family day carers should be providing care or education
from their primary residences. When care or education is
provided from a residence, the Regulations require the
carer to ensure children have regular access to the living
areas of that residence.
All family day care venues (premises other than a family
day carer’s residence) must be approved by the
Department. Such approvals will be available only in
Minimum training of family day carers
The proprietor of a FDC service must ensure that all
family day carers satisfy minimum training requirements
by 1 January 2012. In general, regulation 61 prescribes
minimum training at a Certificate III level or above for
family day carers.
Departmental visits during the licence term
At various times throughout your licence period, a
Children’s Services Adviser may monitor compliance with
the Act and Regulations by visiting or inspecting your
service and speaking with you and your staff. Generally,
these visits will be followed up with a letter which will
confirm all of the issues the Children’s Services Adviser
discussed with you. Children’s Services Advisers may
also visit and inspect family day care residences and
Licensing Guide 3