Children's Services Act 1996 (review)

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

VCAT can review certain decisions of the Secretary to the Department of Education and Training made under the Children's Services Act 1996 relating to those who operate and participate in the operation of Children's Services – primarily related to child care.

Cases we can hear

You may be able to apply to VCAT for a review if you are a person aggrieved by a decision of the Secretary to:

  • refuse to grant an Approval of Premises or a licence
  • refuse to renew or vary a licence
  • suspend or cancel a licence
  • amend a Service Approval associated with a Children's Service relating to:
    • varying, revoking conditions in the Service Approval,
    • imposing a new condition or restriction on the Service Approval, or
    • amending the Service Approval in another way
  • vary, revoke or impose conditions on a Service Approval associated with a Children's Service about
    • whether the variation, revocation or imposition of a condition should be confirmed, or
    • whether the suspension should be withdrawn or confirmed.
  • suspend a Service Approval associated with a Children's Service
  • cancel a service approved relating to a Children's Service.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Children's Services Act 1996 – section 55.

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.

Time limits

You must make your application within 28 days from when:

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.

What does VCAT consider when making a decision?

The Act does not specifically state matters that VCAT must take into account, however we generally consider:

  • whether the applicant has been found guilty of a serious offence
  • whether the applicant and each of the associates of the applicant is a suitable person to be concerned in or associated with providing Children's Services
  • whether the applicant's property or premises will be suitable to provide Children's Services, if applicable
  • whether the applicant and each of the associates of the applicant is of good character having regard to character honesty and integrity
  • whether in the case of an applicant who is not a natural person, the applicant has satisfactory ownership, trust or corporate structure
  • whether the applicant is of sound and stable financial background
  • whether the applicant has any business person or body that is not of good repute having regard to character, honesty and integrity
  • whether each director, partner, trustee, executive officer and secretary or any other person associated or connected with the ownership or administration or management or operation of a business of providing services for children is a suitable person to act in that capacity
  • any previous experience in providing Children's Services.

What can VCAT order?

Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:

  • affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
  • vary the decision
  • set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
  • set aside the decision and remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.

More about how we resolve your case

Read more about hearings at VCAT, professional representation, access and privacy and communicating with VCAT.