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Children's services include:

  • Formal child care services which provide care and developmental activities for children usually aged between the ages of 0 and 12 years; and
  • Preschool services which offer educational and developmental programs for children in the year or two before full-time schooling.

The Children's Services team of the Children, Youth and Families Unit contributes to the development of consistent national data on children's services and produces regular reports on child care and preschool service provision and usage in Australia.

Children's Services National Minimum Data Set (CSNMDS)

Under direction from the Children's Services Data Working Group, work was undertaken to develop a Children's Services National Minimum Data Set (CSNMDS). This data set was signed off by the National Community Services Information Management Group (NCSIMG) in July 2005. The final report on the development of the CSNMDS was published in February 2007.

Implementation of the CSNMDS

Now that the initial development work for the CSNMDS has been completed, work is underway to study options for implementation.


The AIHW has released a number of reports and working papers relating to children's services. These reports use data from various sources, such as the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services Child Care Census and the ABS Child Care Survey.

For a comprehensive summary of children's services, download the children's chapter from Australia's Welfare.