Health and Development Participation Grant Program

The Health and Development Participation Grant Program (HDP Grant Program) aims to increase awareness of and engagement with the Health and Development Checks in Early Childhood Education Program (HDC Program).  

The HDC Program began rolling out in 2023, providing free health and development checks to 4-year-old children within early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings.

Key features of the grant

In 2024, eligible approved providers may apply for up to $7,500 in total grant funding in up to 3 categories:

Category 1: Staffing to support the health and development checks program.

Category 2: Suitable space for health and development checks. 

Category 3: Support children’s health and development after the check.   

Key dates

Grant activity Round 1
Applications open 7 February 2024 
Online information session and Q+A 28 February 2024
Applications close   31 March 2024 
Applications assessed   1 April -10 May 2024 
Decision maker’s approval  24 May 2024  
Notification of outcome  31 May 2024  
Grant delivery   June 2024 (prior to 30 June 2024) 
End of grant funding   31 December 2024
Acquittal  by June 2025 
Evaluation commences   July 2025 


To be eligible for the HDP Grant Program, the service must meet all the following criteria: 

  • The service must be an approved provider under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law Act 2010 (NSW) and be one of the following:
    • not-for-profit community preschool (centre based) 
    • not-for-profit long day care (as identified in the National Quality Agenda IT system, or where sufficient evidence is provided upon request), including a local government managed service 
    • Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Service* 
    • Aboriginal Child and Family Centre* 
    • Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation* 
    • standalone for-profit long day care (defined as for-profit providers operating a single long day care service as identified by the National Quality Agenda IT system) .
  • The service must deliver an early childhood education program to children aged 4 and above.
  • The service must agree to participate in the HDC Program* by the end of 2024**. Services that participated in the HDC Program in 2023 must also participate in the 2024 calendar year to be eligible to apply for the HDP Grant.

 *The HDP Grant is also available to Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services, Aboriginal Child and Family Centres and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations that deliver health and development checks through an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

**Approved providers that must delay their participation in the HDC Program beyond the 2024 calendar year due to extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The approved provider must show email confirmation from their local health district of their booking to participate in the HDC Program.

Approved providers need to have an active, up to date account in the Early childhood contract management system (ECCMS) and agree to the Terms and Conditions of the HDP Grant Program including the acquittals process. 


Applications for the HDP Grant Program should be submitted through the SmartyGrants online application system.

A guide is available to help applicants use SmartyGrants at SmartyGrant's help guide for applicants.

Next steps

If you are a prospective applicant for a HDP grant, we encourage you to:

  • read the overview on this page

  • read the detailed program guidelines to understand everything you need to know before applying

  • familiarise yourself with how to apply

  • attend the online information session and Q&A on Wednesday 28 February 2024

  • contact our team with any questions or if you need help.

HDP Grant program guidelines

HDP Grant program FAQs


HDP Grant program resources

Online information session

Watch the recording from the online information session, held on Wednesday 28 February.

MAJA O'DELL: Yeah, might kick off. So, hi everyone, and thanks for joining our webinar on the Health and Development Participation Grant today. My name is Maja O'Dell and I'm the manager of our Health and Development Checks team here at the Department of Education. First, I would like to start this webinar by acknowledging the various lands we’re all joining on from today. And I'm here on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and I'd like to pay my respect to elders past and present. I'd also like to acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are joining us on the call today and recognize the important contribution that this program can make to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the early years. So in today's presentation we'll start with a quick overview of the HDC program before moving on to the specifics of the HDP Grant.

MAJA: We've put some set aside, time aside, I should say, for the Q&A is at the end, but if you have any questions as we go through the webinar, put them into our Q&A function there on the screen. Hopefully you can see that and our team can answer them as we go and there will also be some extra time at the end for Q&A’s if there’s sort of something you think about and want to ask at the end and if you have any trouble with that Q&A function, you can email your questions through to our inbox and we'll share that in our chat. So just, I’ll kick off and just as a quick refresher, Health and Development Checks in ECEC is a partnership between New South Wales Health and the Department of Education. Now we know that many children in New South Wales are not getting their four year old health and development check. About two in five children are also starting school developmentally off track and regular health and development checks are important to give families crucial insights into how their children are tracking before they start school, and also ensure that children and families are getting the support they need as soon as possible. The health and development checks in Early Childhood and Education and Care program builds on existing services where parents and carers can access their child's health and development checks, such as their local doctor or their child and family health nurse or the local Aboriginal Medical service.

MAJA: Next slide, please. Health and development checks in ECEC will be available to four year olds who attend participating early childhood education and care services. And these include community preschools and long day care services. Health professionals from New South Wales Health from their local health districts will check children's health and development in the ECEC service, and this might include their listening and talking skills, their social skills and behaviour, their gross and fine motor skills, their learning thinking and problem solving skills and how their bodies are growing. Importantly, this program is free and will be opt in for both families and services. Next slide, please. So just a little refresher. Again, I know a lot of you have probably attended some of these sessions, but just a refresher on how the program will actually work. So in terms of scheduling, the local health district teams will contact services to let them know that they are able to offer the health and development checks. And if you're a service, you can also email your local health district to let them know you'd like to host the program at your ECEC service in 2024. Just please keep in mind that local health districts are dealing with a high volume of requests and will do their best to get back to you as soon as possible. They will work with services to find a time that is convenient for them to receive the check. What are we hoping teachers and educators will do? Well, we're asking them to assist with collecting consent forms and pre assessment questionnaires, preparing families and children for the check, ensuring child educator ratios are being met, following regulations on Working With Children Checks and ensuring children are not left alone with visiting health staff. Our health professionals from the LHD’s will liaise with services throughout the process, including talking to services about anything they want to highlight going into the checks and they will complete the check and provide families with a report after the check, with referrals being provided as required. Each LHD will be responsible for managing the referral pathways in their districts. Parents can share the reports with the service and have discussions about support for their child independent from the program if they wish. We've also got our Education Local Reform [...] Local Reform and Commissioning Team that sits with us here in Education, and they are a group of group within DoE who will be offering local implementation support on the ground as the project continues to roll out. And our team here in Health and Development Checks is working really closely with that team to make sure our services get that support on the ground.

MAJA: The HDC program just as a little bit of scene setting began rolling out in September last year and is now we can proudly say, available in 12 of the 15 local health districts in New South Wales. And you can see there, these are the ones marked in green on the map there. The remaining three LHD, Northern New South Wales, Northern Sydney and Far West will begin rolling out the program before the end of this year, 2024. We just want to, and I'll get to the grant obviously in a minute, but if checks are not being rolled out in your LHD yet, so if you're one of those three days, this doesn't preclude you from applying from this grant. You can find out which LHD your service belongs to using the New South Wales Health Interactive map and just at the end of this webinar, we'll do a little link and a poll and you can find out which LHD you belong to. So we'll do that towards the end. And there are a couple of ways to express your interest in the program. If you're one of the 12 LHD’s that have commenced roll out, you can get your LHD’s email from our website which we'll share and is also at the end of this presentation. Or, if your service is in the remaining three LHD’s, you can email our team and we'll also share those details and will connect you and make sure you have all the information you need.

MAJA: Next slide, please. So as part of developing this HDC program, we consulted the ECEC sector last year and services identified a few elements that might become barriers to participating in the program. So as a first step, we've developed this one off grant to help overcome some of the barriers and encourage services to participate in the program in 2024. The Health and Development Participation Grant and I'm going to just call it the HDP Grant because it rolls off the tongue a little bit better will mean that eligible services can apply for up to seven and a half thousand dollars to spend in one or more of the of the following categories. So these are and they're listed there on the screen for you, But I'm just going to go through them in a little bit more detail. So category one funding for staffing to support the HDC program category two suitable space to conduct the checks and Category three building capacity in ECEC services to support children's developmental needs. It's important to note that to be eligible for the grant ECEC services must participate in a check in 2024 you don't need to be booked in for a check when you submit your application, but as mentioned earlier, we would encourage you to reach out to your LHD to expressed interest in the program when you're applying for the actual grant. And we, our team will continue to work with LHD to understand if there are any services that have received the grant but have not been able to schedule a check. And we've got some provisions in the guidelines for our team to assess circumstances where checks, for whatever reason, can't happen in 2024 on a case by case basis. So while this grant is for 2024 only and it's currently, as I said, a one off one year grant, our team here is considering other ways that we can continue to support the sector on an ongoing basis.

MAJA: Next slide, please. So like I said, we thought it would be helpful to give you a few more examples of the things you might use the different categories of funding on to help you with your application. And so just go through some of these are category one funding can be used to provide relief time, over time payments or travel costs for educators and teachers to undertake tasks such as administrative duties related to the checks for staff to support children during the checks, and to engage in related professional development. Category two funding can be used for a repurposing or refurbishing of rooms or spaces within the service to provide a suitable space to conduct the checks. A suitable space is a place that allows the program to be conducted privately. This can be a separate room area or classroom within an ECEC setting. Some services, we've noticed, have been sectioning off an area of the classroom to use, so similarly to how they might conduct the StEPS program. This category can also be used for venue hire where suitable space is not available within the service. If you do need to use an offset location to take part in the program, services are required to follow the New South Wales regulations, including risk assessments and written authorisations so parents do not have to attend any off site checks. But these would need to be supervised by educators and teachers. Services are encouraged to check and explore the Department of Education Resources and transporting children safely, which can be found on the website at the bottom of the slide, yes, just checking that we've included that there, and on our website and so more details about this off site check is also available in our program guidelines, which you'll need to familiarise yourself with before applying for the grant and category two funding. So this same bucket can also be used for the purchase of resources to support children's learning and development. And we would just note here that any resources should be purchased to provide support to all children your service rather than support an individual child in your service. Individual support will be managed by LHD’s in the form of specialist referrals, where concerns are identified and then I'll just jump to category three. So some of the examples here, you can use this funding bucket to cover travel costs, course fees and relief time to attend relevant training. So this is slightly different to that category one in that the relief time here is for actually attending training, capacity building and so some of the things, some of the training might include things like the Northern Sydney LHD NESA accredited program or attending the ECA conference. This third bucket can also be used to engage external providers for specialised education programs to support developmental needs though this would need to be delivered to the whole group of children at the service with a focus on upskilling educators and teachers to implement support strategies on an ongoing basis. This third category of funding can also be used to engage community members, to support community member or members to support the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. To assist your service in selecting professional development, which you can spend this third category of funding on. our team is developing a list of training courses available within the Department, which will provide you some idea of how you might wish to spend the funding for capacity building. We expect this to be available shortly on that grant website where all of this information will be contained.

MAJA: So moving on to the next slide. Right. So this is an important one, which a lot of people will have a lot of interest in - who can apply. And so many of the ECEC services that are eligible for the Health and Development Check program itself are also eligible for this grant. So this includes not for profit community preschools that are centre based, not for profit long daycare services and standalone full profit long daycare services, which are for profit providers operating a single long daycare service as identified by NQAITS. So this means that for profit providers operating multiple services are not eligible for this grant. I just wanted to call out importantly, that we're extending this grant to multi-functional Aboriginal children's services. Aboriginal child and family centres and Aboriginal community controlled organizations that deliver health and development checks. So this is in recognition that these services already deliver health and development checks and should be supported even if these checks are outside of our HDC program. So that grant is still open to those services, even if they're technically not a part of our paid program. Just note here. I'll say that for eligible providers who wish to make a bulk application on behalf of more than ten services, there is an option for this in the application form and I'll go through that in our next slide a little bit more onto the next slide.

MAJA: So we just thought would show a little bit of the application form and a little bit of the application process itself. So hopefully this is useful to some of you who haven't made yourself familiar with the form. So, one of the things we thought might need a little bit of explanation is that as part of the application form, we will ask you to select one or more of the three funding categories and you will have 300 words to briefly explain how you intend to use the funding if you are successful according to each category you have selected. Now, this is the only free text part of the form. So this is the only part where you're actually going to have to answer with free text as as I just said. So please note that this is flexible and it's okay if your final spend is different to what you have included in your application. But I will say that there will be an acquittals process where you will be required to report to the department how you have spent the grant funding and this will be due due by June 2025. So even if the information is different, you'll still need to make sure you keep things like receipts, timesheets and other documentation to demonstrate how you have spent your money. And that process will need to take place before June 2025 as I said. And so you'll see that also that we have a section for eligible providers who wish to make a bulk application on behalf of more than ten services. So this is just to make it a little bit easier so that you don't have to put in separate applications. And there is an option for this as you go, you'll see it in application form. You will just have to provide the total number of services in your bulk application. Hopefully you can see that there on the screen where that option is and the approved provider ID of each of the services as per NQAITS. So this will be a number that starts at SE and is followed by eight numbers. You only need to enter the eight numbers. You don't need to include the SE at the beginning. So what we've also done, and maybe some of you have already seen it, but we've got a short video that we've created which guides you through the actual application form. So if you scan that QR code there, that will take you to the website and there you will see a link to a short form where we actually run you through the application form from start to finish and we give a bit of a guided tour of the application form, if you will, and hopefully that will answer any more of the questions that you might have as you're going through. And I think it's just a handy thing to watch before you go through, through the form and hopefully you find that useful.

MAJA: The next, next one please. So applications are now open. They opened on the 7th of June, June, sorry, February. I'm ahead of myself and will close on the 31st of March. Successful applicants will be notified by 31 May and will receive their funding before 30 June this year. So you can see that on the screen there. Successful applicants will have until the 31st of December 2024 to participate in the health and development check and spend their funding. As I mentioned earlier, the acquittals process will need to be completed by June 2025, and this involves reporting to the department on how your service has spent funding according to the three categories. And remember that it's okay if you're spending slightly different to what has been indicated in your original application, and we encourage all applicants to reach out to the LHD to expressed interest in participating in the program as you are as you go through your application process. And this will just make it more streamlined, hopefully for yourself and for the check to be able to be booked in. So we've got our HDC website there, which you can see on the screen or you can access it using the QR code there and that gives a little bit more information about the checks, some resources we've got on there and also a list of the different LHD’s that are on board so far and their emails and it tells you how to get in contact with your LHD. And if you need, if you have any questions following this webinar or if there's anything you don't want to ask today or if there's anything that comes up, anything at all, you can email that email that you see on the screen. I just want to make it really clear that that is not sort of a big centralised email that will go into the ether. It's our small, dedicated team that will get back to you really quickly with a quick turnaround and we're very happy to answer any questions, set up meetings and really help guide you and assist you through this process. So if your service is in one of the three local health district yet to begin rollout, like I mentioned, that's Northern New South Wales, Northern Sydney and Far West, we're still encouraging, we still encourage you to apply for the grant and like I said before, we'll work with those LHD’s when they come online to ensure that where possible grant recipients can receive the check by the end of 2024. And I think importantly, just make sure everyone knows in the case of extenuating circumstances our team will assess on a case by case basis if a check hasn't been able to be done in 2024 but you have received the funding.

Application tutorial

Watch a video resource on applying for the Health and Development Participation Grant Program.

Before we begin walking through the application, it's important to note that in SmartyGrants, you can save your progress and return to complete your application at a later time or date. And your application is stored online. Therefore, there's nothing for you to save to your own computer. When you're ready, click start a submission. If you have a SmartyGrants account, you can log in directly using your username and password.

Otherwise you will be asked to create a new account. The first page will take you through an overview of the HDP Grant Program. However, please make sure you have read the full HDP Grant Program guidelines and Terms and Conditions before making your submission. This part of the application must be completed to confirm your service’s eligibility for the HDP grant according to the program guidelines.

Please read through the list carefully and confirm that you meet all of the criteria by checking each of the boxes as appropriate. Note that there are alternative criteria for Multifunctional Aboriginal Children's Services, Aboriginal Child and Family Centres and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations that deliver health and development checks. If this is you, please also refer to program guidelines to confirm your eligibility.

This section asks for details of the approved provider of your service. In the first section you will need to provide the details of your Approved Provider. The details you will need are the Approved Provider’s address, which may be different from the address of your service. The Approved Provider’s Australian Business Number, or ABN, which has a unique 11 digit number that identifies a business to the government and community.

The Approved Provider ID number as per the National Quality Agenda Information Technology System, often referred to as NQAITS. This will be the number that starts with PR and is followed by 8 numbers and can be found on your Provider Approval certificate or prescribed information displayed at your service. You only need to enter the 8 numbers. You don't need to include the PR at the beginning.

And finally, you will need to include the Approved Provider's legal name. If you are applying on behalf of more than ten services, select Yes. An additional box will appear for you to input the number of services you are applying for. For example, 11. And the service approval numbers for each of those services. These will be the numbers as per NQAITS and can be found on your Service Approval certificate or prescribed information displayed at your service.

Please note that you will only need to enter the eight numbers. You don't need to include the SE at the beginning. If you are only applying on behalf of a single service, click No. You will then be asked to provide your service approval number, which can be found on your Service Approval certificate or prescribed information displayed at your service.

As mentioned earlier, you only need to provide the eight numbers, not the SE at the beginning. Then you will need to provide the service’s legal name, the service’s address, the services, email address, and the service’s phone number. If you are an Approved Provider seeking to apply on behalf of more than one but less than 10 services, you will need to make a separate application for each service.

At this point, the application will ask for some personal details of the person making the application. This is to verify that the person completing the application form is either a) the Approved Provider of the service or the SP-Admin account holder in the early childhood contract Management system (or ECCMS) or b) that the person completing the application is a duly authorised representative of the Approved Provider or the SP-Admin in ECCMS.

The first part of this section will ask for your first name, last name, phone number, email address and role. The following question will ask if you are the Approved Provider and or the SP-Admin account holder of the service’s ECCMS account. If that is the case, select yes. If you are not the Approved Provider or the SP-Admin in ECCMS, select no.

Then you will be asked to verify that you are a duly authorised representative of the Approved Provider or SP-Admin account holder. In this case, this would mean that you're someone who has received permission from your organisation, the Approved Provider, and the ECCMS SP-Admin account holder to submit this application on their behalf. If you are unsure, please speak to your Approved Provider. On this page you will need to confirm which service type your application is for. This includes Multifunctional Aboriginal Children's Services, Aboriginal Child and Family Centres and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organiszations. You will also need to confirm the proportion of children currently enrolled at your service that identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

In this section you'll be asked to select which categories of funding you wish to apply for. You may select one or more categories, but do note that selecting more than one category will not result in additional funding being approved. Services will be required to report their progress for every category selected below to the Department of Education. Below you will have 300 words or less to describe how you intend to use the funding.

Please ensure you explain how you intend to use the funding for each of the categories you have selected above. Please note that if your application is successful, it's okay if you spend your funding in a different way than what you have set out in this application. When it comes time to go through the acquittals process, you will just need to report on how you have spent your funds.

On this final page, you will be asked to give permission for the Department to provide contact details to the Program Manager at the Local Health District the service is located in for the purpose of arranging participation in the Health and Development Checks Program. You will then be asked, as an Approved Provider or as a duly authorised representative, a) to confirm you have read and accept the terms of the HDP Grant Program Terms and Conditions and other associated conditions and b) to accept that any use of Category 2 HDP Grant funds to transport children to a local venue to participate in the program must abide by the New South Wales Regulatory Framework.

Once you have completed this step, you will be asked to review your submission before finalising. If you have any issues submitting your application or if you have accidentally submitted your application before finishing, please contact our Health and Development Checks team at

And if you have any issues using the SmartyGrants website, you can visit for an explanation of the essential steps you need to take to complete and submit your application form.

Recommended professional learning

Download our list of recommended professional learning (PDF 80KB) that ECEC services may wish to engage with using the HDP Grant funding.


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • Early Childhood Outcomes
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