Give feedback or make a complaint

We welcome feedback from all of our stakeholders and aim to resolve any complaints promptly. We also like to hear when things have gone well so we can continue to provide more positive experiences.

For Parents and Carers

What to do if you have a concern or complaint about an early childhood education or outside school hours care service.

Before making a complaint to the department

If you have a concern about an early childhood education and care service (including preschools, long day care, family day care, out of school hours care, vacation care, and mobile services), please raise it with the director, manager or other staff at the service in the first instance. It is the responsibility of the service to manage and respond to your complaint. The service is required to notify the department within 24 hours if your complaint alleges that:

  • a child's health, safety or wellbeing has been compromised or
  • the National Law or Regulations have been contravened.

When approaching your service to make a complaint, you should:

  • ask to see the service's written procedures on managing complaints
  • be clear about the topic or issue you want to discuss
  • focus on things that are genuinely affecting your child
  • always remain calm
  • ask questions about the facts relating to the circumstances of the topic or issue you wish to discuss
  • think about what would be an acceptable outcome for you and your child
  • be informed - check the relevant legislation and the service's policies or guidelines, where relevant. If you have a question about what a service needs to do to comply with the National Quality Framework, contact us by:

If it is not appropriate to raise your concern with the service, or if the service does not resolve the issue, you can then contact the department to make a formal complaint.

If you are concerned there is a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child, you should contact the department as soon as possible on 1800 619 113 and we will act immediately. This includes concerns about neglect, physical, sexual or emotional harm or abuse. We may notify other agencies including the Office of the Children's Guardian, the Department of Communities and Justice or Police.

Please note that you can call anonymously if you wish.

Parents and carers can complain directly to the NSW Department of Education about a service not complying with the national laws and regulations, including a service's:

  • physical environment
  • quality of education
  • interactions between staff and children including inappropriate behaviours or inappropriate discipline.

You can also complain about services operating without approval. To make a complaint:

When we receive a complaint, we will:

  • acknowledge your complaint immediately if it concerns a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child or children, or within 5 working days for other complaints.
  • provide you with a reference number.
  • investigate your complaint - depending on the nature of the complaint this may involve further discussions with you, contacting the service, inspecting the service, questioning or formally interviewing staff at the service, or seizing evidence if required.
  • aim to provide you with an outcome within 20 workings days.

All notifications to the department are treated confidentially. Your identity cannot be disclosed unless you give written consent or a court grants leave for this to occur.

If your complaint raises an immediate threat of significant harm to children, we will act immediately.

Some complaints may take longer to investigate than 20 working days. We will email you if this is the case.

You can ask us for an update by:

Service fees and business practices

To complain about service fees or business practices please contact the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

Child Care Subsidy

To complain about the Child Care Subsidy, or other Australian Government programs please contact the Australian Government's Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Download the raising concerns flyer (PDF, 579KB) if you would like to print this information.

Services and providers

The Regulatory Authority

The NSW Department of Education, in its capacity as the NSW Regulatory Authority for education and care services, is responsible for administering the National Quality Framework (NQF) and has a range of powers and tools to facilitate continuous improvement in the provision of education and care services and ensure compliance with the NQF.

Services and providers can complain about us as the Regulatory Authority, including complaints about the conduct of our staff, by:

When we receive a complaint we will:

  • acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days
  • keep you informed of progress by email
  • investigate your complaint and provide you with an outcome within 20 working days.

Some complaints may take longer to investigate than 20 working days. We’ll email you if this is the case.

You can ask us for an update by:

Please notify us of incidents, complaints and changes to information through the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS).

If you disagree with your rating you can ask us for a first-tier review. To do this, submit form ‘SA11 Application for Review of Ratings by Regulatory Authority (Service Rating)’ through NQA ITS.

For more information visit ACEQCA’s Review of ratings page.

Educators and staff

To complain about employment conditions and industrial relations issues at your workplace please contact NSW Industrial Relations.

Complaint handling policy

For more information read our complaint handling policy (PDF, 312KB).

The policy is relevant to:

  • parents and carers
  • services and providers
  • educators and staff.

Engaging with and supporting families whose child is involved in a serious incident policy

For more information read our engaging with and supporting families whose child is involved in a serious incident policy (PDF, 160KB).

This policy outlines the department’s position with regard to engaging with and supporting families whose child is involved in a serious incident that is being investigated.

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