Give feedback or make a complaint

We welcome feedback from all external stakeholders and aim to resolve complaints promptly. We also like to hear when things have gone well so we can create more positive experiences.

Parents and carers

Making a complaint about an early childhood education or outside school hours care service

Before making a complaint to the department

If you have concerns 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 them directly with the director, manager or other staff at the service in the first instance. It is their responsibility to deal with all complaints and to notify the department, if required.

If the service can’t resolve the issue you can contact us to make a formal complaint.

Contact us immediately on 1800 619 113 if you're concerned there's a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of children. This includes complaints about neglect, physical, sexual or emotional harm or abuse. Your call can be anonymous if you wish.

The service is obliged to deal with and respond to your complaint and must notify the department within 24 hours if your complaint alleges that:

  • a child’s health, safety or wellbeing has been compromised
  • 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 the 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 you are not satisfied that your complaint has been resolved by the service, then you can take your complaint further as outlined below.

Or, if for any reason you feel it is not appropriate to raise your complaint with the service then you can contact the department as well.

What you can complain about to the department

Parents and carers can complain directly to the NSW Department of Education about a service not complying with the national law 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.
  • provide you with an outcome within 20 working days, if not sooner.

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 concerns about the health, safety or wellbeing of children and we believe there is a real and immediate threat of significant harm to children we will act immediately. We may notify other agencies including the Office of the Children’s Guardian, the Department of Communities and Justice or Police.

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:

Other types of complaints

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, if not sooner.

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:

Incidents, complaints and changes

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

Review of ratings

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

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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