Our role

The NSW Department of Education monitors, supports and regulates more than 6,000 early childhood education and care (ECEC) and outside school hours care services across NSW.

We also work to ensure the delivery of quality early education programs and services to support child development from pregnancy up to and including the school years.

Our staff are based in central Sydney, Bankstown, Parramatta and regional NSW.

Through communication and collaboration with stakeholders and professionals who work with children in a range of early childhood education environments, we ensure the delivery of high quality services to build a better future for children.

What we do

The department has 2 main areas of responsibility in ECEC.

NSW Regulatory Authority

The department is the Regulatory Authority (NSW Regulatory Authority) for the ECEC sector in NSW. It regulates, monitors and supports more than 6,000 ECEC services. We work to drive quality outcomes for children and communities through early childhood education, to ensure all children get the best start in life. The health, safety and wellbeing of children is the highest priority for the department.

Our regulatory responsibilities include:

  • enforcing compliance with the National Law and Regulations including investigating serious incidents that occur in ECEC services such as injuries, assaults or death and undertaking a range of compliance action, including prosecutions and prohibitions
  • working and sharing information with other agencies such as the Office of the Children’s Guardian to support the sector to be child safe
  • processing applications for provider and service approvals
  • assessing and rating services against the National Quality Standard, to support children’s learning and development and services’ continuous quality improvement.

The NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority is committed to upholding children’s safety and public trust, both of which are at the forefront of our work.

The NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority’s Child Safe Action Plan (PDF 2.5MB) outlines the strategies it’ll take to raise awareness of the importance of child safety, build capability of services, and support implementation of the Child Safe Standards. There is harmony between the Child Safe Standards and National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care services. While children’s safety is a key priority for both, the Child Safe Standards focus on preventing and responding to risks of harm to children across a range of industries, workplaces and sectors, including early childhood education and care.

The NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority recognises the significant importance of children’s safety whilst they attend early childhood education and care services and has a zero tolerance for risks of harm to children. We are working closely with the Office of the Children’s Guardian (as the regulatory authority of the Child Safe Standards) to ensure services have access to relevant resources to support implementation of the Child Safe Standards.

The NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority’s Child Safe Action Plan is our commitment to upholding the Child Safe Standards as a responsible, effective and risk-based regulator with child safety in early childhood education and care services at the forefront of all our actions.

There is also a separate Child Safe Action Plan developed by the NSW Department of Education for NSW public schools and preschools, which is available on the Child Safe Standards webpage.

Early Childhood Outcomes

The Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) division is responsible for ensuring all children make a strong start in life and learning and make a successful transition to school through the funding of programs to support more children to access quality ECEC across the state.

The ECO division also leads the delivery of new early learning and child development initiatives to support all children in the critical first 5 years of life.

A key focus of the division is to ensure that all children in NSW can participate in 600 hours of quality preschool in the year before school, regardless of where they live or what their circumstances are. Our responsibilities include:

  • analysing, understanding and informing national policies on early childhood education and care
  • funding ECEC services and organisations to implement programs that deliver quality, participation, inclusion and affordability outcomes for children and families across NSW
  • identifying and developing new strategies to support positive educational changes to ensure all children have the best start to life and learning.


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • Early Childhood Outcomes
  • NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority
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