Priority for filling child care places

Sometimes there may be a waiting list for child care services. So, to ensure the system is fair, the Australian Government has developed 'Priority of Access Guidelines'.

The guidelines only apply to Child Care Benefit (CCB) approved child care services and must be used when there is a waiting list for a service and a number of parents are applying for a limited number of vacant places, or if the service is full and a Priority 1 or 2 child requires child care.


  • Priority 1: a child at risk of serious abuse or neglect
  • Priority 2: a child of a single parent or parents who satisfy the work/training/study test under Section 14 of the 'A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999'
  • Priority 3: any other child.

Within these main categories, priority should also be given to the following children:

  • children in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
  • children in families which include a disabled person
  • children in families which include an individual whose adjusted taxable income does not exceed the lower income threshold of $45,114 for 2017-18, or who or whose partner is on income support
  • children in families from a non-English speaking background
  • children in socially isolated families
  • children of single parents.

A child care service may require a Priority 3 child to vacate a place to make room for a child in a higher priority group. They can only do so if the parents are:

  • notified when their child first entered care that the service follows this policy
  • given at least 14 days notice of the need for their child to vacate.

Outside School Hours Care

Outside School Hours Care is primarily for school children. A service may ask a child not yet in school to leave care if the parent of a child who is in school applies for a place.

Employer sponsored places

If a child care service is funded by an employer for their employees' children, the service can give priority to those children.