Family day care is a type of childcare provided to small numbers of children from 6 weeks to 12 years by qualified early years educators in their own home. This setting provides flexibility and can suit some children particularly well, but parents need to be able to make alternative arrangements when the provider is sick or away on holidays.

What is family day care?

Family day care is offered in a qualified educator’s own home and care days and hours are different from provider to provider. Family day care options may include:

  • full-time care
  • part-time care
  • casual care
  • before and after school care
  • school holiday and vacation care
  • weekend care
  • overnight care
  • emergency care

Family day care caters for smaller groups of children - no more than 7 children at a time. The age of children can be spread across 4 preschool and 3 school age children at any given time to ensure children are well supervised.

Family day care can provide a safe, natural home-based environment for your child, with flexible routines and quality care. The smaller setting can also nurture strong relationships between the children, educator and parents.

Keep in mind that sometimes you may be required to care for your own child if the family day care educator gets sick and is unable to care for your child. If you’re interested in family day care it’s important to visit family day care educator’s homes so you can get a feel for the educator and their home environment. 

Is kindergarten taught?

Family day care educators do not offer a funded kindergarten program.

How to choose a provider 

Be sure to start the process of looking into your family day care options early as some family day care educators can have waiting lists.

As with long day care, family day care is required to use an approved learning framework. In Victoria these are:

Be sure to ask the family day care educator about the program they provide to make sure they are using the approved learning frameworks.

You can also check the provider’s rating against 7 quality areas according to the National Quality Standards on the Starting Blocks website.

What is the cost?

Fees vary for each family day care educator. Fees will generally vary according to location, the educator's qualifications, the hours of care, and the age of the child. Some educators may provide food, nappies and transport, and these costs will be added to their hourly rate.

Registered family day care educators are able to access the Child Care Subsidy to help you with the cost of care. The subsidy is paid directly to the family day care educator to reduce the fees you pay. Child Care Subsidy is based on:

  • your family’s income
  • the hourly rate cap based on the type of child care you use and your child’s age
  • the hours of recognised activities you and your partner do. 

Find out more about child care subsidies and costs at the Raising Children Network

Find family day care

To find family day care providers in your area, go to Family Day Care Australia

How useful was this information?