Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in:

  • the children’s own home; or
  • the home of the person providing the education or care; or
  • any other home nominated by a parent of the children.

These services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.3 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS25 Medicine administration

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 25

      Medicine (prescription and non-prescription) is not given to a child unless it is given:

      • by a doctor or ambulance personnel in an emergency; or
      • by the parent of the child; or
      • with the written authority (appropriate to the category of medicine) of a parent.

      Medicines are stored safely and appropriately, and are disposed of, or sent home with a parent (if supplied in relation to a specific child) after the specified time.

      Documentation required:

      1. A record of the written authority from parents for the administration of medicine in accordance with the requirement for the category of medicine outlined in Appendix 2.
      2. A record of all medicine (prescription and non-prescription) given to children attending the service.

      Records include:

      • name of the child;
      • name and amount of medicine given;
      • date and time medicine was administered and by whom; and
      • evidence of parental acknowledgement.

      The criterion aims to uphold the health and safety of children by ensuring that children are given proper care, and that medication is not administered inappropriately by services.

      Amended May 2015.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Medicines must be stored out of the reach of children, but still be easily accessed by the educator if needed in an emergency. Some medicines may require refrigerated storage; services must ensure that children do not have unsupervised access to the kitchen or the fridge.

      It is recommended that family medications and creams are kept separately from first aid supplies used by the educator in their role.
      Educators must take note of the expiration dates of medicines, and ensure that they are not administering medicines that have passed their use-by date. Educator supplied medicines that have expired must be disposed of appropriately – check with a pharmacist about the best way to do this. Parent-supplied medicines should be given to the parents for disposal.

      The different categories of medicines have different parent authorisation requirements, as set out in Appendix 2. For categories (i) and (iii), parent authorisation must be given at enrolment of the child at the service. Category (ii) medicines require daily parental authorisation. For category (i) medicines, services must be specific about what products they will use (including brand names).

      The different categories of medicines also have different parent acknowledgement requirements. When category (i) and (ii) medicines are administered, the child’s parent should acknowledge this on the medicines record sheet at the end of each day that the medicine is given. When the same dose of Category (iii) medicine is administered on a regular basis, parental acknowledgement may be obtained weekly or every three months.

      When administering medicine check that the right dose (use a standard measuring syringe or spoon) of the right medicine is given to the right child (double-check the details on the label each time) at the right time (follow any instructions provided by parents or medical staff about this).

      Documentation Guidance:


      Every educator must keep a record of all medicine (prescription and non-prescription) given to children when attending, regardless of whether it is administered by an educator or by the child’s parent.

      The record of medicine administered to children should be kept for 2 years.

      Keeping a record of medicine administration demonstrates that the service has fulfilled its duty of care; that the child needing medicine has been given the right dose of the right medicine at the right time.

      It is a useful record for both parents and medics in the event of a child experiencing an adverse reaction or sudden-onset illness.

      The recording of category (i) medicines administered in relation to injuries as required by criterion HS22 will meet this requirement for those medicines.

      Authorisation and Acknowledgement:

      The written authority for categories (i) and (iii) medicines is on the enrolment form so must be kept for 7 years. For category (ii) medicines, the written authority should be kept for as long as the child is receiving that medicine.

      Parental acknowledgement of the medicine having been given to their child must also be recorded. Category (i) and (ii) medicines require daily parental acknowledgement, whereas parental acknowledgement may be obtained and recorded weekly or every three months for category (iii) medicines whose dosage does not change.