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.

HS13 Animals

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 13

      Safe and hygienic handling practices are implemented with regard to any animals. All animals on the premises are able to be restrained.


      The criterion aims to ensure that animals kept by the service do not pose a health risk to children.


  • 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.

      Children and adults who handle animals need to practice sound hand washing procedures afterwards.

      Pets kept in home-based settings need their habitats to be cleaned and maintained as required depending on the needs of the animal, and children supervised when interacting with them.

      If there are pets in the home, the outdoor area of the home-based setting will need to be regularly checked for animal droppings and these removed.

      Educators will need to ensure that animals including those brought to the home can be properly restrained at all times. This could include some guidance on:

      • where dogs brought at pick-up and drop-off should be tied e.g. not immediately at the gate where children are passing
      • what happens if a sight impaired family member of a child attending the service has a guide dog
      • having a separate fenced off exercise area where dogs can be removed to if necessary.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Where the home is located at a rural property with farm animals, the educator will need to be aware of any animals in the vicinity of the home and ensure children are supervised when interacting with them.