Start Strong for families

The Start Strong program provides fee relief to families with children in preschool from 2023.

What this means for families

3-5 year old children in community, mobile and public preschools

Fee relief for all children in a community, mobile or department preschool will now continue into 2023.

Families will save up to $4,220 a year for 3-5 year old children in community and mobile preschools from 2023.

Families will be provided the equivalent of 5 days per fortnight of affordable preschool for all children in department preschools.

4 and 5 year old preschoolers in long day care

In 2023, preschool fee relief is being introduced for 4 and 5 year old children in long day care for the first time.

This funding is part of an increase in investment to long day care services that will directly support quality preschool delivery across NSW.

If your child turns 4 years old on or before 31 July 2023, you will save up to $2,110 a year in eligible preschool programs in long day care.

This will be in addition to Australian Government Child Care Subsidy payments, which most families in long day care services are eligible to receive. (The CCS does not apply to community and mobile preschools or department preschools).

How is fee relief calculated?

Community and mobile preschools

If your child attends a participating community or mobile preschool, the fee relief will be calculated based on the number of hours your child is enrolled.

For example, if your child attends 600 hours a year (15 hours a week) or more, you will be eligible for $4,220 a year in fee relief. If your child attends fewer than 15 hours a week, the amount of fee relief will be scaled proportionately. Talk to your service for more information.

Preschool programs in long day care

If your child attends preschool at a long day care, your service will spread the $2,110 annual fee relief across the number of weeks they are open and apply it as a reduction in your child’s weekly fees.

For example, if a centre is open 50 weeks a year, they will pass on a reduction of up to $42.20 each week. Talk to your service for more information.

How to access fee relief from 2023

You must complete a declaration form to nominate which service you would like to receive fee relief from.

Ask your service for a form or download the form below and provide it to your service.

You can only access fee relief from one participating community preschool or long day care service at any given time, but you must complete a declaration form for every service your child is enrolled in.

The fee relief will be passed on to you by your preschool service as a reduction to your fees. Services will let you know a fee relief reduction has been made to your fees, such as via a regular invoice, statement or other means.

Services that do not issue invoices or statements have been encouraged to provide fee reduction information through newsletters, their website, or letters to families.

Start Strong supports children in NSW to participate in 600 hours of preschool education in the years before school, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are.

This increased funding for preschool education through Start Strong includes $840 million in funding over 4 years to deliver the Preschool Reform Agreement’s goals of increasing preschool access, attendance and quality in the year before school.

Download the families flyer

Download our 2023 Start Strong families flyer for a handy summary of the information on this webpage.

Frequently asked questions

Ask your service if they are participating in the Start Strong program.

No, you can only access fee relief from one participating community preschool or long day care service at any given time.

All parents or caregivers are required to complete a declaration form that nominates which service you are choosing to receive your fee relief from. Your service can assist with this process.

The choice of which service to nominate is up to you. Most likely you will consider the number of hours your child attends which service and the fees each service charges. Ask your services to provide you with the relevant information to help you make the choice.

The fee relief is linked to enrolment, not attendance. If your child is sick and does not attend on one of their enrolled days, your fee relief amount does not change. You will still receive a reduced fee from your service.

If your child starts long day care later in the year, your weekly fee reduction does not change.

Services will spread the fee relief across the number of weeks they are open and apply the fee relief as a reduction to weekly fees for each child.

For example: if a centre is open 50 weeks a year, they will pass on up to $42.20 in fee relief each week.

If your child enrols in a long day care service in June, then you will receive fee relief of up to $42.20 from the week your child’s enrolment starts at that long day care service.

If you have concerns that you are not receiving the full fee-relief, we encourage you to discuss this with your service.

More information

Contact your service to find out more about accessing the Start Strong fee relief.


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • Early Childhood Outcomes
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