Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based 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, 1.2 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS16 Alcohol and other substances at the service

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 16

      All practicable steps are taken to ensure that children do not come into contact with any person on the premises who is under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that has a detrimental effect on their functioning or behaviour.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children by ensuring children attending the service are not exposed to the risks of persons under the influence of alcohol or other harmful substances.

  • 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.

      The service must follow the hospital’s policy on alcohol and other substances.

      Staff of hospital services should be familiar with the hospital’s policy, and know to whom they should go with any concerns at possible breaches.

      It is important for staff to have considered in advance the types of situations that might occur in a hospital-based setting and how these would be handled. For example, staff will need to have considered in advance what they would do in situations such as if a parent or caregiver under the influence of alcohol or any other substance arrives in the activity room.