Frequently asked questions about child care

Boy asking his mum a question

More information about registering for child care and how child care places are allocated.

How does the registration system work?

We take registrations on behalf of eight participating community managed services within Darebin. These services are operated by either a committee of management or an early years management organisation.

For information and registration with other early childhood education and care services in Darebin, you will need to contact them directly.

  • A list of all child care services is on the Federal Government's Starting Blocks website.
  • Families can apply to the child care registration system after the birth of their child.
  • Services operate a range of model types, including different fees and charges and different polices.
  • To ensure you choose a service which suits your needs, Darebin recommend families make contact and visit individual services, prior to registration.
  • Completion of the registration form does not guarantee a placement and we strongly recommend you explore all childcare options in the

Priority of access guidelines for allocating places

All early childhood education and care services are required to comply with government priority of access guidelines:

These are:

  • Priority 1: a child at risk of serious abuse or neglect
  • Priority 2: a child of a single parent who satisfies, or of parents who both satisfy the work, training, study test
  • Priority 3: any other child

Criteria scores are calculated based on answers families provide on the registration form.

Once your registration has been processed, the system aligns your registration onto a list. This alignment is determined by:

  1. The age of your child
  2. Date we received your registration
  3. Your preference order of chosen services
  4. Families living outside of Darebin may apply, but priority is given to Darebin residents

Is there one waiting list for all child care services?

No - child care services operate their rooms divided into age groups.

As a result, children will sit on one list relevant to one age range and on another list relevant to a different age range. Children may be included on multiple lists if families list more than one preference. As children get older, they are automatically moved to the list for the next room, and the number of spaces in this room, will determine how many families are waiting, and this will alter your place on the waiting list.

So, in this example:

  • the waiting list at one child care service has no connection to the waiting list at another child care service
  • If a child is offered a place at one service and declines the offer, the child is not necessarily next in line at another service
  • If you accept a place not at your first preference child care service, you cannot stay on the waiting list for your first preference child care service

I have a child already at child care - do my other children get priority?

Siblings of children already at a child care service will be given priority in the allocation process. To ensure priority of access guidelines are adhered to, siblings must be allocated through the registration system. A child care registration form must be completed.

How can I improve my chances of being offered a place?

  • Once you are offered a place, you have 24 hours to accept or decline the offer.
  • Only select services, in order of priority, where you are prepared to accept a place.
  • Make sure you have already visited your nominated services and are familiar with how they operate.
  • Choose a child care service that is close to home or en route to work / study. If demand for child care places is high in the south of the municipality, staff may recommend you nominate a service in the north of the municipality as vacancies can sometimes be more readily available.
  • Ensure all your contact details are up to date, especially phone numbers, email and residential address. If contact cannot be made within 24 hours of the vacancy becoming available, the next family on the waiting list will be offered the place.
  • Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of a place. We encourage you to explore all other childcare options within Darebin.

Complaints about child care

We do not own or operate any child care services. The services in the Darebin area are managed by a range of providers, including parent committees of management, private operators and early years management.

If you have any concerns or complaints about the care provided at your child care service, you should first talk to the child care service, which is required to have a complaint procedure and policy. Their procedure and policy should be available to you on their website, in their handbook or on display in their foyer. The policy should be made available to you on request.

If you would like to then take the complaint further, contact:

Department of Education and Training
Phone: 03 7005 1989