Childcare Frequently Asked Questions

Read answers to frequently asked questions before applying for childcare.

Apply for childcare


We prefer direct debit payment.  Alternatively you can pay with a credit card via phone.  Over the counter payments to Children's Services (Sutherland) can also be made.   

Council is required to follow Priority of Access Guidelines set by the Department of Education.  Positions will be filled from applications received and placements will be offered in accordance with these guidelines.  

When we make an offer of placement proof of eligibility for those families requiring care due to work, study and training commitments will be required (e.g. letter from employer and/or training institution). If on maternity leave a letter from employer will be required.

Parents will be required to complete a declaration of their working status at the time of enrollment.

Family Day Care Educators set their own hours and accordingly they vary. Our team of Educators start between 7am and 9am, and finish between 4pm and 6pm. 

Some Family Day Care Educators also offer weekend, evening and overnight care of children, to meet the needs of non-traditional working hours.  

View Family Day Care Educators profile pages to find out more about each Educator's hours and availability.

Council operates its 11 Early Education Centres 51 weeks of the year, with the exception of public holidays when the centres are closed. Operating hours are 7am-6.15pm, Monday to Friday.

      Waiting times vary considerably, depending upon your child's age, preferred care type and location. For example, services located near train stations tend to have a higher demand. 

      Council is required to follow Priority of Access Guidelines set by the Australian Government. Positions will be filled from applications received and placements will be offered in accordance with these guidelines. 

      Vacancies do occur throughout the year however the majority of placements are made between October and February for commencement early in the new year. The reason is because a proportion of children will depart our services for primary school, which creates vacancies across the age groups within our services. 

      Should you need to update your details with us at anytime, for example, to supply a new phone number, address or email address, please email (ChildrensServices@ssc.nsw.gov.au) or telephone Children's Services on 9710 0466 to have your records updated.

        When a referral is made to a family providing them with the opportunity to meet with a Family Day Care Educator, contact will need to be made with the Educator within 24 hours or the opportunity for care via this placement will lapse.  When a referral is made, a confirmation email with all the details is sent to the family for their convenience.  Some Family Day Care Educators charge a bond. Fees and charges will be discussed with the Educator at the time of meeting them and visiting their service. 

        Please complete our change of details form and we will be in contact with you.

        Council's Children's Services is a leader in the field of early childhood development and the integration of children with additional needs in mainstream care.

        Let us know when placing your child on the database and/or if any changes occur to your child's needs. This will enable us to ensure that if a vacancy arises we can place your child in the Centre best suited to their needs. 

        We encourage you to disclose if your child has a diagnosed disability, an allergy, challenging behaviours or any other concerns that are not consistent with the developmental age of your child.

        Centres may receive support from our Inclusion Support Services.  Dependent on your child's needs, we may also be able to access funding of an additional staff member for increased one-on-one support for the child and to assist integration. 


          Council accepts applications for care after the birth of a child. Our services are well equipped to care for babies and infants. 

          Care routines are planned and adjusted in consultation with families to take in to account the unique needs of each child.

          Our Educators respond to children's emotional and physical needs through building a two-way communication with each family. Families provide information on their children's rest, toilet training and eating needs, which Educators use to plan meal times and routines for each child.

          Our highly trained staff respond to children's verbal and non-verbal signals throughout the day and provide comfort through developing strong bonds with each child.

          The Federal Government has introduced new laws to encourage more parents to get their children vaccinated. 

          From 1 January 2018, all newly enrolled children must either be fully immunised, on a catch up immunisation schedule or have a valid medical exemption to be enrolled in an approved childcare service.  Children who are unvaccinated due to their parent's conscientious objection will no longer be able to be enrolled in any approved childcare service.   

          Council Policy

          In accordance with this new legislation, from 1 January 2018 Council is not permitted to accept children into care unless they have been fully immunised, are on a catch up immunisation schedule or have a valid medical exemption. 

          Under current legislation, it is mandatory for Council to have your child’s Immunisation History Statement to continue their enrolment in our services.

          Due to the health and safety of children in our care, should our records show that your child is not up-to-date with their immunisation, they may be excluded from care in the event of an outbreak and fees still charged.

          Further information regarding immunisation is available via: 

          Children’s Services Customer Service:  Phone 9710 0466

          Department of Human Services (for rebate details):  Phone 136 150

          Medicare Australia (for immunisation statements):  Phone 1800 653 809

           

           

          Familes are required to advise their acceptance of any placement offers within 1 working day.  On acceptance, a bond payment is required within 2 working days.  The current bond is $120 per day.

          Bonds are refundable provided two weeks written notice is given when leaving and provided all outstanding monies have been paid.  Bonds are not refundable or transferable under any circumstances if you accept the position and the position is not taken up.    

          When contacting families to offer a position we will make up to three documented attempts to reach you. If we are unsuccessful, the application will be removed from the database and a new application will be required.

          Council is required to follow Priority of Access Guidelines set by the Australian Government. Positions will be filled from applications received and placements will be offered in accordance with these guidelines.

          Positions become available throughout the year, however, the majority of our positions are offered any time from September to January for commencement in the new calendar year. While every effort will be made to contact you during this time, positions cannot be held indefinitely. Children's Services takes no responsibility if you are unavailable on the contact numbers you have provided.

          When a family is offered a position in an Early Education Centre, the family has a maximum two working days from acceptance of the offer to make a bond payment. The current bond is $120 per day. The bond payment will be held by Children's Services until such time as the family leaves the centre, after giving two weeks written notice, and finalises all outstanding debts. Bonds are not refundable or transferable if the position is not taken up.

          Placements are given in the following order:

          • Priority of Access Guideline: Priority 1 (Child at Risk)
          • Existing children moved up into appropriate age group
          • Internal requests for extra days and transfers
          • Siblings of existing children in care who meet Priority 2
          • Priority of Access Guidelines: Priority 2 placements from Council's database
          • Siblings of existing children in care who meet Priority 3
          • Priority of Access Guideline: Priority 3 placements from Council's database

          A child currently in care cannot exit care to create a vacancy for their sibling. 

            Positions in Council's Early Education Centres are allocated into the following age groups:

            • Birth-6 months
            • 6-12 months
            • 12-18 months
            • 18-24 months
            • 2-3 years
            • 3-5 years

            Once a vacancy occurs in a centre, an assessment is made across all rooms with regard to the remaining children to decide whether a transition to a new age grouping will be beneficial. For example, if a child in the 3-5 age room is leaving our service, the centre director will check to see if there may be a child currently in the birth-3 age room who would benefit from transitioning to the 3-5 age room (effectively taking the position vacated by the child leaving).

            What this means is that even though a child has left our service from the 3-5 year age bracket, the vacancy that arises could be in a younger age group. A vacancy is determined by the ages of current children in attendance. Please also note that children do not automatically transition to the next room when they turn of age.

            We will make every effort to place your child at one of the centres selected however, no guarantee of a position can be given.

              Yes, we encourage you to tour the centre/s of interest to you. Please check the details on each centre's profile page and make contact with your preferred centre/s to arrange a suitable time.

              You can apply for childcare online

              Alternatively, please contact Children's Services on ph 9710 0466 or email ChildrensServices@ssc.nsw.gov.au to request an application form, or you're welcome to visit our offices at the main Council building, lower ground floor, 4-20 Eton Street, Sutherland 2232 (between 8.30am-4.30pm).

              Apply for childcare online

              All Early Education Centres - not-for-profit and commercial - undertake periodic assessments by the industry's legislative body in NSW, the Department of Education and Communities. The assessment reviews compliance with the National Regulations and National Quality Standards.

              Our Centres' ratings are a testament to the high quality early education and care delivered by our Centre Directors and their dedicated teams.  Nine out of our 11 centres have been rated as "Exceeding".

              Assessment criteria

              Centres are assessed on the following 7 quality areas:

              1. Educational program and practice
              2. Children's health and safety
              3. Physical environment
              4. Staffing arrangements
              5. Relationships with children
              6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
              7. Leadership and service management 

              Each quality area contains standards and elements which Centres are assessed and rated against.  Centres are given a rating for each quality area, and one of the following overall ratings based on the collective result:

              • Exceeding National Quality Standard
              • Meeting National Quality Standard
              • Working Towards National Quality Standard
              • Significant Improvement Required

              Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

              The Child Care Subsidy is provided by the Federal Government to assist with the cost of approved childcare including Early Education Centres, Family Day Care, Vacation Care and Out of Hours School Care. 

              The subsidy will be paid directly to services to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of early education and care. It will be paid to your service and then deducted from your billing statements.

              There are three factors which determine a family’s Child Care Subsidy:

              1. Guardian’s Activity levels

              2. Your service type (Early Education Centre, Family Day Care, Out of School Hours Care)

              3. Combined Family Income

               More details on each of these three factors are outlined below:

               1.  THE ACTIVITY TEST determines how much subsidised care a family can obtain

              This test is applied to each parent in a couple relationship or a sole parent. If two guardians have different activity levels, the lower activity level will determine subsidy hours. If guardians have casual/irregular hours, an average of a three month estimation period will determine subsidy hours.

              Activities include paid work, self-employment, training, study, volunteering, paid parental leave and job seeking. In a couple relationship, calculations are based on the parent with the lower hours of activity.

              2.  YOUR SERVICE TYPE

              Each service has a maximum hourly rate cap that is used to determine the subsidy. If the fee charged is higher than the maximum hourly rate cap, parents pay the gap between subsidy and fee.

              3.  COMBINED FAMILY INCOME

              The new Child Care Subsidy is based on income levels. Please visit the Federal Government's new child care package website to learn about the Child Care Subsidy package.

              Additional subsidies for families in need will also apply. 

               The Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) is a top-up payment, in addition to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

              1. Additional Child Care Subsidy (Child Wellbeing) will provide a subsidy to families of children at risk of harm, equal to the fee charged, up to 120% of the Child Care Subsidy hourly rate cap, for up to 100 hours per fortnight. The family will not have to meet Activity Test requirements.

              2. Additional Child Care Subsidy (Grandparents) will provide a subsidy to grandparents who are principal carers of their grandchildren and receive income support, equal to the fee charged, up to 120% of the Child Care Subsidy hourly rate cap, for up to 100 hours per fortnight. This will also be Activity Test exempt.

              3. Additional Child Care Subsidy (Temporary Financial Hardship) will provide short-term increased child care fee assistance to families who are experiencing significant financial stress due to exceptional circumstances, to ensure continuity of care. This will also be at the 120% rate and will be exempt from the Activity Test. This support will be provided for a maximum of 13 weeks per event.

              4. Additional Child Care Subsidy (Transition to Work) will provide support to families who are transitioning to work from income support by engaging in work, study or training activities and who are in receipt of Parenting Payment, Newstart, Disability Support Pension or Youth Allowance, and have a Job Plan in effect. These parents will receive 95% of the fee or cap, and the payment is subject to the Activity Test.

              Useful information

              https://www.education.gov.au/ChildCarePackage

              MyChild website - Search for Child Care

              DHS - Find nearest Office

              For information on support and counselling contacts contact Community Services NSW

              Typically Family Day Care Educators charge an hourly fee with a minimum of 8 hours. Council also charges families a small scheme contribution fee, based on the hours of care enrolled. 

              For our 2018/19 Family Day Care fee schedule, please refer to the following document:

              ADOPTED-Family-Day-Care-Families.pdf

              Council's Family Day Care Educators set their own fees for the service they provide. Each Educator's fee is based on a number of factors including the Educator's location, their experience and qualifications, hours of operation, inclusions for families and business operating costs. There is not one standard fee across the board.

              The daily fee for the 2018/2019 financial year is:

              • $110.00 per day for children birth-2 years, less any applicable Child Care Subsidy. 
              • $104.00 per day for children age 2-3 years, less any applicable Child Care Subsidy.
              • $99.00 per day for children age 3-5 years, less any applicable Child Care Subsidy.  

              Please refer to the link below for our current Early Education Centre fee schedule. 

              Early-Education-Centres-fees-2018-2019-financial-year.pdf   

              Families can access Department of Human Services to estimate their Child Care Subsidy eligibility.  Regardless of what amount a family is entitled to, there will always be a gap fee payable.

              Location

              Address: ,

              More information

              Forms

              Childcare application (EECs or Family Day Care)

              Enquiries

              Enquiries can be directed to Childrens Services on 9710 0466 or childrensservices@ssc.nsw.gov.au

              Childcare (EECs or Family Day Care) Change my booking (existing customers only)

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