Children and Family Services Handbook

1. Welcome, Our Vision, Our Service

Welcome to Fairfield City Council

As your provider of choice, BestStart Education & Care would like to extend a warm welcome to you and your family, and we thank you for entrusting us to work in partnership with you to support your child’s education and care. As a one of the largest NSW local government providers of early education and care, we are proud of the quality and level of care our 14 early education and care services deliver to the local community. This handbook has been given to you to provide you with the key information you need as a customer of Fairfield City Council, and to help you understand the way we work. We encourage you to read through this booklet before your child starts with us. At your upcoming enrolment interview, your Centre Director is also available to answer any questions you may have. You are welcome to drop in and see your child or speak with an educator at any time. We would love for you to come in and join in our programs - your participation is valued.

Vision for Quality

We believe in child-centred curriculum and inclusive environments.

We believe in a collaborative partnership with families, community, and external organisations to shape children's learning and development.


We believe in play-based learning pedagogy that is fun, engaging, child-centred, which nurtures the development of the holistic child.


2. Our Program

Fairfield Council Children Services offers your child a curriculum guided by the Australian Early Years Learning Framework, through an innovative play-based curriculum which is informed by best practice, current research and underpinned by the importance of nurturing strong relationships with families, children and the community.

The early years are fundamental to a child’s emotional, cognitive and social development.

Research suggests that a quality early childhood education sets a child up for success throughout their school years and even later in life. That is why we are focused on providing our families with quality educational programs to support children’s learning and development from birth right through to school age.

In our Progressive Documentation Statement we recognise the individuality of each service and of each child.

Through collaboration of all who invest in children’s learning we aim to capture the true identity and learning of each individual child through meaningful documentation (Individual Learning Programs), their knowledge, their ability and growing resilience as a reflection of who they are in each learning moment and their unlimited potential for future success.

Creativity and compliance guide our documentation cycle which brings together all aspects of planning into a coherent unified process.

Reflections, observations, ILP’s and evaluation of our programs are available each day for families to read, respond to and share.


3. Policies and Procedures

As an organisation Fairfield City Council is committed to high quality early childhood education and care, and as such we have several policies and procedures that guide and support staff in their work with children and families as well as the overall management of the services.

All of our policies and procedures are available for you to read at the service and updated on a regular basis. When an existing policy is updated or a new one is developed, it is circulated to staff and families for their feedback. We encourage and welcome your feedback and value your input into the development and review of them too.

If you would like any copies of any of the policies please speak to your Centre Director.


Policy Name/Number What are the key things this policy covers?
Enrolment and Orientation Policy
QMPOL-CS-012(PDF, 143KB)

• Priority of access guidelines
• Enrolment and orientation process
• The importance and process to organisation orientation visits

Fee Policy
QMPOL-CS-015(PDF, 159KB)


• Requirements for fee payments, changing your enrolment and exiting from the service changing
• Outstanding fee account


Incident, Injury, Illness & Trauma Policy
QMPOL-CS-067(PDF, 154KB)


• Our legal responsibilities to you and your child if they are involved in Incident, Injury, Illness & Trauma
• Our reporting obligations under the legislation in the event your child is involved in a serious incident


Safe Sleep and Rest Policy
QMPOL-CS-030(PDF, 175KB)


• Catering for the individual needs of children
• Catering for children who do not sleep or rest


Child Protection Policy
QMPOL-CS-005(PDF, 202KB)


• Our legal responsibilities as mandatory reporters
• Information about court or parenting orders


Delivery and Collection of Children Policy
QMPOL-CS-009(PDF, 213KB)


• What are the responsibilities of families during drop off and pick up times
• What procedures are in place for late collection of children


Nutrition Policy
QMPOL-CS-025(PDF, 226KB)


• Menu planning and safe food handling
• The promotion of healthy eating
• Children with allergies or cultural dietary requirements


Medical Conditions Policy
QMPOL-CS-063(PDF, 439KB)


• The administration of prescribed and non-prescribed medication and lotions
• Management of asthma, anaphylaxis and other medical conditions


Children’s Clothing Policy
QMPOL-CS-006(PDF, 133KB)


• Recommended for appropriate clothing and footwear for children


Sun Protection Policy
QMPOL-CS-033(PDF, 196KB)


• Sun safe practices in our services


Supervision Policy
QMPOL-CS-034(PDF, 140KB)


• The practices and procedures in place to maintain staff to child ratios throughout the day
• Ensuring all educators both permanent and casual are aware of responsibilities to meet legislative requirements during



Acceptance and Refusal of Authorisations Policy
QMPOL-CS-038(PDF, 139KB)


• Guidelines in place which allow staff to accept or refuse authorisations

Statement of Business Ethics(PDF, 66KB)

• Fairfield City Council's statement of Business Ethics.


4. Enrolment and Orientation


In addition to the completed enrolment form we need you to provide us with:

  • A copy of your child’s original birth certificate or passport (this needs to be sighted by the director, who will take a copy)
  • An up-to-date immunisation history statement (please note, the blue book is not official record). The copies will also require a copy each time immunisation is required
  • Copies of any relevant legal documents that may impact your child’s enrolment (e.g. any parenting/court orders or current AVO’s)
  • An Allergy(PDF, 242KB) or Asthma Risk minimisation and Communication Plan (if applicable)
  • An Asthma Care Plan(PDF, 80KB) or Anaphylaxis Action Plan(PDF, 304KB) (if applicable)

The details you provide us with are kept confidential and used to contact you in the case of emergency or for other service-related purposes by staff.

If any of your details change (including phone numbers, addresses and emergency contacts details) please advise a staff member immediately so appropriate documentation can be filled in. This can also be done by you using your parent login and via the parent portal.

Orientation visits and settling your child

Your Centre Director will discuss with you the importance of orientation visits for your child before they start. We encourage you and your child to visit the centre at least three times before they commence their enrolment. This will assist you and your child begin developing secure relationships.

Staff will offer comfort and reassurance to each child in a way that is suited to the child during separation from their family. Families are encouraged to stay with their child for as long as they choose during the settling-in period and on an ongoing basis.

Please understand separation anxiety is completely normal when children first start. Your Centre Director can discuss any concerns you may have or gather more information from families to support continuity of care between home and the service. The settling-in process is tailored to meet the needs of individual children and families.

5. Centre Procedures

Signing in and out

It is a legal requirement that all children are signed in when arriving at the centre and signed out again when they exit the service at the end of the day.

If someone new will be dropping off or picking up your child, please make sure they are aware they also need to sign your child in or out.

Once you are signed in, please ensure that staff are aware that your child has arrived so that they can be adequately supervised.

Please be aware that only Authorised Persons nominated on your enrolment form will be allowed to sign a child in or out at the centre. Please let them know we will ask for their photo ID at the time they arrive to collect your child and will verify their information with what is recorded in the child’s enrolment form.

If an authorised person will be attending the centre to collect your child at the end of the day, you must inform staff prior to them coming.

If staff have not been informed, and one of your contacts arrives to collect the child, we will contact you to confirm the arrangement.

Under no circumstances will children be released to:

  • any person who does not have photo identification and is unknown to the staff at the centre
  • a person who is not listed as an authorised person on the enrolment form
  • a parent/ guardian who is not permitted access according to their child’s court orders or
  • a parent/ guardian whereby the court order limits the parent/ guardian’s access to the child and the attempted access is not permitted within these orders
  • anyone aged under the 18 who is not the parent of the child


If your child is going to be absent, please ring the centre and let the staff know as a courtesy.


Excursions are a valuable experience for children, families and staff as they provide the opportunity to expand and enhance children’s experiences, explore different environments and engage in meaningful ways with their communities.

Excursions undergo appropriate planning and risk management to ensure the safety and overall enjoyment of the experience for all.

In the event of an organised excursion or in- centre excursion (called incursion) notification is always given to families and permission slips must be signed prior to the excursion date. On these occasions we welcome the additional help of any family member who wish to join us.

Change to your enrolment

If families want to withdraw from a service or reduce days, 4 weeks’ written notice is required.

After discussion with the service’s director a link will be sent to families by SMS notification to complete a withdrawal form when required.

If you have applied to receive Child Care assistance for the cost of your childcare fees and receiving Child Care Subsidy, your child must attend their first day of care for your childcare subsidy to be paid from the starting date stated in your enrolment confirmation.

Also, if your child does not attend the last day after giving formal notice to withdraw, no Child Care Subsidy will be paid for any days after the child’s last physical attendance at the service.

*This is enforced by a federal government policy, not a Council policy.

6. Fees and Subsidies 

Payment of Fees

Fees are payable for every day the child is booked into care. This includes each day a child is not able to attend care due to sickness, holidays or unforeseen circumstances. Fees are not payable when the centre is closed for holidays and public holidays.

You are required to keep your fee account up to date at all times. There are two ways you can pay your child’s fees:

  1. Direct Debit
    Your child’s fees must be paid by Direct Debit from your nominated bank account or credit card (No AMEX). Fees are debited every fortnight on a Thursday (Long Day Care and Multipurpose Services Only) every 6 weeks for Preschools, to keep your account two weeks in advance at all times. Any unsuccessful debits will result in a dishonour fee being charged to your account.

  2. Centrepay
    If parents are receiving benefits from Centrelink, arrangements can be made for a direct payment via Centrelink. Please ask us for a Centrepay form if you wish to make payments this way.

Non-payment of fees will lead to a termination of the enrolment arrangement. We do understand that from time to time, you may experience difficulty paying your fees. If you are having difficulty paying your fees, please discuss this with your Centre Director to discuss a payment plan.

If you fail to pay your fees, we reserve the right to take further action to collect the outstanding fees. This may involve giving your personal details to others involved in collecting the fees owed.

If you owe any fees at a Fairfield City Council service, you cannot transfer or enrol your child at another Council service until the outstanding fees are paid. We will also exercise the right to circulate the names of all debtors to all our centre directors and coordinators.

Long Day Care

Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

CCS is paid directly to providers and passed onto families as a fee reduction. In order to receive the Child Care Subsidy (CCS), you must first be assessed for eligibility.

Three factors determine a family’s level of Child Care Subsidy:

  1. Combined annual family income
  2. Activity Test
  3. Service Type

Please note: Parent 1 on the enrolment form needs to be the one who is assessed for CCS.

Full fees are payable until CCS is confirmed. For more information about CCS, please visit the Services Australia website (Child Care Subsidy).

Preschool Fees

Fairfield City Council receives funding which assists in reducing preschool fees for some children. In accordance with funding guidelines, we prioritise enrolments in line with the expectations of the Department.

For preschool enrolments we prioritise:

  • Children who are at least 4 years old on or before the 31st July in that preschool year and not yet in compulsory schooling
  • Children who are at least 3 years old on or before the 31st July and from a disadvantaged background (i.e. families holding a low income Health Care Card or Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Families)

Fees for these children may be adjusted from time to time and is dependent on funding. You will be advised of what your daily fee is for your child at the time of enrolment. If you receive equity fee relief and your circumstances change or your Health Care Card/Pension Card expires, you must inform the director and your fees will be adjusted.

* Please ensure a current Health Care Card is held on your child’s enrolment file at all times

Late collection fees

Families must ensure that their children are collected from the service before closing time. All services apply a strict policy regarding late collection of children with continual lateness placing a child’s position in jeopardy.

A late fee of $16 for the first ten minutes is payable, and $1 each minute thereafter, will be charged to your account if your child remains at the centre after the designated closing time.

In the event that you or the emergency contacts of your child cannot collect your child, the Police will be contacted to collect your child after a period of 40 minutes, with no successful contact.

7. Safety

Safety guidelines

Each centre is required to implement and evaluate an Emergency Evacuation drill every month. Each permanent staff person and casual contractors are required to carry their own personal whistle at all times in the event of an emergency.

Emergency evacuation drills are done with the children to practice what happens in an emergency and to help them understand the reasons why we may need to evacuate, as well as their role in an emergency.

Evacuation Drill Procedures and Centre Floor Plans are located at each emergency exit point at the centre. Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are also located throughout the centre and their locations are depicted on the evacuation floor plan. Please read the evacuation procedure and floor plan so you are aware of the process and the steps we take to ensure your child’s safety in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Please remember to sign your child in and out each day as these are used as part of our evacuation procedure and in the event of a real emergency will cause major complications during the evacuation process.

8. Health, Nutrition and Wellbeing

Medical and health issues

To assist in managing any medical health conditions with your child, we ask that parents:

  • Provide proof of immunisation from Medicare. Please note proof of immunisation is required for enrolment.
  • Keep your child at home when suffering from a heavy cold or possible infectious disease or virus.
  • Notify the staff immediately if your child is sick or contracts a contagious illness (including Head-Lice)
  • Provide a doctor’s clearance certificate upon return to the centre
  • Observe the recommended exclusion periods as set down by the NSW Department of Health.
  • If your child has had diarrhoea and/or vomiting they cannot attend the centre until all symptoms have subsided and are not present for at least 24 hours.
  • Observe all of the Children and Family Service Health Policies and Procedures. If you would like a copy please request this from the staff at the centre.

When children become ill

If a child becomes ill whilst at the Service, the educators in conjunction with the director will decide an appropriate course of action and whether they remain at the centre. If it is determined that the child will need to go home, we will request the child be collected as soon as possible.

A doctor’s certificate is required following your child being sent home with, or after recovering from, an infectious disease including any high temperatures.

First aid treatment

In the event your child experiences an injury, qualified staff will apply first aid in accordance with their training. Staff will document this on record which will be required to be signed by you or your authorised person when they come to pick up the child.

For any injuries sustained to a child’s head you will be contacted as a courtesy. The child will be monitored closely for any changes in behaviours.

The director may seek urgent medical, dental or hospital treatment or ambulance for your child if deemed necessary.

Asthma and Anaphylaxis

All staff members will have an ACECQA approved Asthma and Anaphylaxis Management Training Certificate in order to be able to recognise and effectively manage an emergency and administer reliever/adrenalin medication.

All children with a diagnosed medical condition requiring medication must have:

  • An Allergy or Asthma Risk minimisation and Communication Plan in place at all times
  • An Asthma Care Plan or Anaphylaxis Action Plan.


Services will ensure that any medication being administered to children has the required documentation completed and the administration is authorised. Details of ANY prescribed and non-prescribed medications and lotions must only be administered when a Medication, Lotion and Consent Dispensing Form is completed. In the interest of children’s safety and well- being, the centre shall only administer medication if it is in its original container with the dispensing label attached listing the child as the prescribed person, strength of drug and the frequency it is to be given.

This form applies to all medications, regardless of whether they are non-prescribed (such as teething gels, nappy creams, cough medicines, etc.) or prescribed (antibiotics etc.), homeopathic, naturopathic or over the counter.

Staff will not administer cough medicines at all to a child unless a letter from the child’s doctor is supplied.

Infectious diseases

The director will inform you as soon as practicable if they become aware of any outbreak of a specific infectious disease which has affected or is likely to affect children or staff at the service.

Any outbreaks at the centre of an infectious illness will be communicated to families by displaying a notification in a prominent area around the centre along with an informative fact sheet on the infectious illness from the book Staying Healthy in Child Care.

Procedures in dealing with infectious diseases will be adhered to for the prevention of any outbreaks.

We asked families to:

  • Inform centre staff if your child has been unwell at home in the past 24 hours, particularly in relation to temperatures, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Assist centre staff in reducing the spread of infection by keeping your child at home if they appear unwell
  • Present doctor certificates to the centre following your child being sent home or are recovering from an infectious illness
  • Ensure staff at the service are advised if your child has been given any medication in the past 24 hours

Food and nutrition

Our certified cooks (Long Day Care Facilities) provide nutritious meals. Our menus follow the Australian Nutritional standards for Young Children and cover 50% of your child’s daily nutritional needs. Menus are on display for your information and we would welcome your feedback.

If your child has any specific dietary requirements including allergies, intolerances, behavioural or cultural/religious, please advise staff immediately to assist in creating appropriate modified diet plans for them during their time at the service. Please note all services are nut-free zones.

Food brought from home
(Preschool only)

In our preschools, families are required to provide morning tea and lunch for their child.

  • Educators will provide you with information on the types of food and drinks recommended for children and that are suitable for lunchboxes
  • Encourage children to eat the more nutritious foods provided in their lunchbox, such as sandwiches, fruit, cheese and yoghurts, before eating less nutritious food provided
  • Discourage the provision of processed snack foods high in fat, salt and sugar and low in essential nutrients in children’s lunchboxes. Food will not be heated or re-heated
  • Any left-over food must be discarded
  • Food is to be stored in the fridge at the centre
  • Water is recommended for drink bottles - juices and milks are not acceptable. There are water drinking stations available as well

What to bring each day

Please bring a bag with 2-3 changes of clothes. Clothing should be appropriate to the season, non-restrictive and suitable for messy play.

Please label every item of clothing including hats and shoes so that any lost items can find their way back to the rightful owner. If you want to write your child’s name on their bag, for child safety, please ensure you write their name on the inside of their bag, and not on the outside where it is visible.

What NOT to bring

Food should be packed fresh each day, in your child’s lunch box and placed in the fridge provided. Please note that food does not need to be provided by you if your child is enrolled in a Long Day Care service where all meals are provided.

We also discourage any toys being brought from home. Please discuss any comfort toys with your Centre Director, and how these might be accommodated.

Sun Protection

Our Sun Protection Policy requires all children (and adults) to wear a hat at all times during outdoor play. Sun Safe Hats are provided upon enrolment when enrolment fees are paid, but they are also available for purchase.

We ask you to apply sunscreen at home or on arrival at your service. It will be re-applied before children participate in outdoor experiences. If families wish to provide their own sunscreen then they must provide it to the service clearly labelled with their child’s name.

We ask that you dress your children in ‘sun safe’ clothing, particularly in the warmer months. Singlet or strap tops/dresses are not considered sun safe.

Supporting children with additional learning needs

The enrolment interview is a good opportunity to discuss the individual needs of your child, what strategies are successfully used at home, and what supports may be needed to put in place whilst at the service.

Children with additional learning needs are encouraged to fully participate in the program, and a variety of supports can be offered to help achieve this.

Where eligible, funding is also available to provide additional supports to children’s learning environment through either the NSW Department of Education’s Disability and Inclusion Program (DIP) for children enrolled in Preschools, or the federal government’s Inclusion Support Programme (ISP) for children enrolled in long day care services.

In order for us to provide appropriate education and care we may also request for current and relevant information and reports about your child and any assessments completed by specialised professionals.

Fairfield City Council also has an Early Intervention service called Fairstart. Fairstart is a registered provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

For further information please call Fairstart on 9725 0114.

9. Protection and Privacy

Child protection

The safety and wellbeing of every child is paramount and we have policies and practices in place to ensure this is maintained.

All of our staff are Mandatory Reporters. This means they are legally bound by the law to make reports to the Department of Communities & Justice of children who are deemed to be at risk of significant harm.

In NSW, mandatory reporting is regulated by the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Care Act).


All Council staff have a responsibility to protect the privacy of children, families and their work colleagues, and are bound by both State and Federal Legislation. Fairfield City Council staff will not disclose personal information relating to children and families to a third party unless the use or disclosure is required or authorised under the law. A copy of Council’s Privacy Policy is available from your Centre Director if you would like more information.

10. Feedback

Children and Family Services values feedback from families in order to improve our service delivery and to ensure that we continue to meet your needs.

Feedback may be taken in the form of compliments, suggestions, enquiries, concerns or complaints about

In the event of a complaint being made, families:

  • Are encouraged to speak to educators in your child’s room or the Centre Director before contacting Children and Family Services Management.
  • Will receive information on the grievance process via the orientation process, family handbook, via newsletter or noticeboard.
  • Are asked to adopt a positive approach and empathise with the other person’s perspective. If the issues are complex, or there are a number of factors being raised at once, it may be beneficial to make notes or provide the grievance in writing.
  • May handle grievances directly in person or indirectly via phone or a letter addressed to the Centre Director. If a parent/guardian is unhappy with the results reached within the centre, concerns may be directed towards Children’s Services Management on 9725 0393.

We hope this booklet has informed you as much as possible, please speak to your Centre Director if you have any other questions.

All children have the right to an education that lays a foundation for the rest of their lives, maximises their ability, and respects their family, cultural and other identities and languages. Children have the right to play and be active participants in all matters affecting their lives.
(United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)

The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia