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Australian Childcare Center API

Our Childcare Center API was built some time back as a tool to support some of our high-earning and proprietary strategies. While our specific purpose won't be discussed, this article introduces the features of our childcare API as part of Project Stargate - our plan to introduce the hundreds of data sources we use to build industry-leading services for our clients.

Sourced from the Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), the data details accredited childcare organisations and their performance when measured against the associated National Quality Standard (NQS). The ACECQA is the national body overseeing the implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF).

While the ACECQA data itself is updated only occasionally we check for updates daily to ensure accuracy. That said, the search features on the ACECQA website (or the Starting Blocks website) is the only information that can be relied upon.

Using the Aussie Childcare API

Endpoint for all requests is https://api.beliefmedia.com/platform/sources/childcare/childcare.json. Each request expects a valid API Key and, if requesting data other than information on a specific center, a data type (browse, search, or stats) is required.

Childcare Center Details

Each center has an associated service_approval_number and provider_approval_number. The search is conducted against the service_approval_number without the SE- prefix. To conduct a search for Community Kids Waterford Early Education Centre (with a service_approval_number of SE-00000002) we would make the following request: childcare.json?apikey=xxxxx&id=00000002. In this case the JSON unfolds to the following large array of data:

1
Array
2
(
3
    [code] => 200
4
    [status] => 200
5
    [message] => OK
6
    [source] => ACECQA
7
    [api_version] => 0.1
8
    [data] => Array
9
        (
10
            [service_approval_number] => SE-00000002
11
            [provider_approval_number] => PR-00000898
12
            [san] => 00000002
13
            [pan] => 00000898
14
            [service_approval] => Array
15
                (
16
                    [service_name] => Community Kids Waterford Early Education Centre
17
                    [provider_legal_name] => G8 Education Limited
18
                    [service_type] => Centre-Based Care
19
                    [service_address] => 8-10 Allora St
20
                    [suburb] => WATERFORD WEST
21
                    [state] => QLD
22
                    [postcode] => 4133
23
                    [phone] => 0732009852
24
                    [fax] =>
25
                    [email_address] => regulatorysupport@xxxxxx.edu.au
26
                )
27
 
28
            [provider_approval] => Array
29
                (
30
                    [legal_name] => G8 Education Limited
31
                    [email_address] =>
32
                    [address] => PO Box 515
33
                    [suburb] => VARSITY LAKES
34
                    [state] => QLD
35
                    [postcode] => 4227
36
                    [date_approval_granted] => 2010-09-17
37
                    [conditions] =>
38
                )
39
 
40
            [approval] => Array
41
                (
42
                    [last_service_approval_transfer_date] =>
43
                    [conditions_approval] => This service is approved to provide education and care to children from children from 15 months up to and including school children This service is not required to comply with P3 (c) and P5 (e) of SP5.4: Child Care Centres of the Queensland Development Code (publication date 1 September 2003) This service is approved to continue to use an educator to child ratio of 1:5 for children from 15 months to 24 months of age. This ratio applies in place of regulation 123(1)(a) until 31 December 2019. This service is approved to provide a rest period from 12:30pm to 1:30pm on Monday to Friday.
44
                    [number_approved_places] => 60
45
                    [service_approval_granted_date] => 2010-11-03
46
                )
47
 
48
            [rating] => Array
49
                (
50
                    [current] => Array
51
                        (
52
                            [1_education_program_practice] => Exceeding NQS
53
                            [2_children_health_safety] => Meeting NQS
54
                            [3_physical_environment] => Exceeding NQS
55
                            [4_staffing_arrangements] => Meeting NQS
56
                            [5_relationship_with_children] => Exceeding NQS
57
                            [6_collaberative_partnerships_families_communities] => Exceeding NQS
58
                            [7_governance_leadership] => Meeting NQS
59
                            [overall_rating] => Exceeding NQS
60
                            [ratings_issued] => Sep 2016
61
                            [previous_overall_rating] =>
62
                            [previous_ratings_issued] =>
63
                        )
64
 
65
                    [previous] => Array
66
                        (
67
                            [1_education_program_practice] =>
68
                            [2_children_health_safety] =>
69
                            [3_physical_environment] =>
70
                            [4_staffing_arrangements] =>
71
                            [5_relationship_with_children] =>
72
                            [6_collaberative_partnerships_families_communities] =>
73
                            [7_governance_leadership] =>
74
                        )
75
 
76
                )
77
 
78
            [services] => Array
79
                (
80
                    [long_day_care] => yes
81
                    [preschool_kindergarten_part_of_school] => no
82
                    [preschool_kindergarten_stand_alone] => yes
83
                    [outside_school_hours_care_after_school] => no
84
                    [outside_school_hours_care_before_school] => no
85
                    [outside_school_hours_care_vacation_care] => no
86
                    [other] => no
87
                )
88
 
89
            [operating_hours] => Array
90
                (
91
                    [annual] => Array
92
                        (
93
                            [monday_start] => 0615
94
                            [monday_end] => 1815
95
                            [tuesday_start] => 0615
96
                            [tuesday_end] => 1815
97
                            [wednesday_start] => 0615
98
                            [wednesday_end] => 1815
99
                            [thursday_start] => 0615
100
                            [thursday_end] => 1815
101
                            [friday_start] => 0615
102
                            [friday_end] => 1815
103
                            [saturday_start] =>
104
                            [saturday_end] =>
105
                            [sunday_start] =>
106
                            [sunday_end] =>
107
                        )
108
 
109
                    [school_terms_only_session_1] => Array
110
                        (
111
                            [monday_start] => 1500
112
                            [monday_end] => 1815
113
                            [tuesday_start] => 1500
114
                            [tuesday_end] => 1815
115
                            [wednesday_start] => 1500
116
                            [wednesday_end] => 1815
117
                            [thursday_start] => 1500
118
                            [thursday_end] => 1815
119
                            [friday_start] => 1500
120
                            [friday_end] => 1815
121
                            [saturday_start] =>
122
                            [saturday_end] =>
123
                            [sunday_start] =>
124
                            [sunday_end] =>
125
                        )
126
 
127
                    [school_terms_only_session_2] => Array
128
                        (
129
                            [monday_start] => 0615
130
                            [monday_end] => 0830
131
                            [tuesday_start] => 0615
132
                            [tuesday_end] => 0830
133
                            [wednesday_start] => 0615
134
                            [wednesday_end] => 0830
135
                            [thursday_start] => 0615
136
                            [thursday_end] => 0830
137
                            [friday_start] => 0615
138
                            [friday_end] => 0830
139
                            [saturday_start] =>
140
                            [saturday_end] =>
141
                            [sunday_start] =>
142
                            [sunday_end] =>
143
                        )
144
 
145
                    [holiday_care] => Array
146
                        (
147
                            [monday_start] => 0615
148
                            [monday_end] => 1815
149
                            [tuesday_start] => 0615
150
                            [tuesday_end] => 1815
151
                            [wednesday_start] => 0615
152
                            [wednesday_end] => 1815
153
                            [thursday_start] => 0615
154
                            [thursday_end] => 1815
155
                            [friday_start] => 0615
156
                            [friday_end] => 1815
157
                            [saturday_start] =>
158
                            [saturday_end] =>
159
                            [sunday_start] =>
160
                            [sunday_end] =>
161
                        )
162
 
163
                )
164
 
165
        )
166
 
167
)

We provide the necessary 8-digit service_approval_number and provider_approval_number (without the prefix) in the response (as san and pan).

Some results have fields which are largely 'complete' while others have empty fields - such as the result shown above. Not all results return opening and closing times for any or all operating conditions.

Browsing Childcare Centers

Browsing results simply returns a paginated response for the entire data. Pagination is made with pg and number.

Querying childcare.json?apikey=xxxxx&type=browse returns the following:

1
Array
2
(
3
    [code] => 200
4
    [status] => 200
5
    [message] => OK
6
    [source] => ACECQA
7
    [api_version] => 0.1
8
    [page] => 1
9
    [number] => 30
10
    [pages] => 527
11
    [total] => 15788
12
    [search] => Array
13
        (
14
            [type] => browse
15
        )
16
 
17
    [results] => Array
18
        (
19
            [0] => Array
20
                (
21
                    [service_approval_number] => SE-00000002
22
                    [provider_approval_number] => PR-00000898
23
                    [san] => 00000002
24
                    [pan] => 00000898
25
                    [service_approval] => Array
26
                        (
27
                            [service_name] => Community Kids Waterford Early Education Centre
28
                            [provider_legal_name] => G8 Education Limited
29
                            [service_address] => 8-10 Allora St
30
                            [suburb] => WATERFORD WEST
31
                            [state] => QLD
32
                            [postcode] => 4133
33
                            [phone] => 0732009852
34
                            [fax] =>
35
                            [email_address] => regulatorysupport@xxxxxx.edu.au
36
                        )
37
 
38
                    [services] => Array
39
                        (
40
                            [long_day_care] => yes
41
                            [preschool_kindergarten_part_of_school] => no
42
                            [preschool_kindergarten_stand_alone] => yes
43
                            [outside_school_hours_care_after_school] => no
44
                            [outside_school_hours_care_before_school] => no
45
                            [outside_school_hours_care_vacation_care] => no
46
                            [other] => no
47
                        )
48
 
49
                    [overall_rating] => Exceeding NQS
50
                )
51
 
52
            [1] => Array
53
                (
54
                    [service_approval_number] => SE-00000003
55
                    [provider_approval_number] => PR-40001112
56
                    [san] => 00000003
57
                    [pan] => 40001112
58
                    [service_approval] => Array
59
                        (
60
                            [service_name] => Eagleby Children's Centre
61
                            [provider_legal_name] => Affinity Education Group Limited
62
                            [service_address] => 82 Fryar Road
63
                            [suburb] => EAGLEBY
64
                            [state] => QLD
65
                            [postcode] => 4207
66
                            [phone] => 0738073222
67
                            [fax] =>
68
                            [email_address] => compliance@xxxxxx.com.au
69
                        )
70
 
71
                    [services] => Array
72
                        (
73
                            [long_day_care] => yes
74
                            [preschool_kindergarten_part_of_school] => no
75
                            [preschool_kindergarten_stand_alone] => yes
76
                            [outside_school_hours_care_after_school] => yes
77
                            [outside_school_hours_care_before_school] => yes
78
                            [outside_school_hours_care_vacation_care] => yes
79
                            [other] => no
80
                        )
81
 
82
                    [overall_rating] => Meeting NQS
83
                )
84
 
85
                [.. SNIP ..]
86
 
87
            [29] => Array
88
                (
89
                    [service_approval_number] => SE-00000034
90
                    [provider_approval_number] => PR-00001129
91
                    [san] => 00000034
92
                    [pan] => 00001129
93
                    [service_approval] => Array
94
                        (
95
                            [service_name] => Goodstart Early Learning Ashgrove
96
                            [provider_legal_name] => Goodstart Early Learning Ltd
97
                            [service_address] => 22 Trout Street
98
                            [suburb] => ASHGROVE
99
                            [state] => QLD
100
                            [postcode] => 4060
101
                            [phone] => 07 3366 5478
102
                            [fax] =>
103
                            [email_address] => ash@xxxxx.org.au
104
                        )
105
 
106
                    [services] => Array
107
                        (
108
                            [long_day_care] => yes
109
                            [preschool_kindergarten_part_of_school] => no
110
                            [preschool_kindergarten_stand_alone] => yes
111
                            [outside_school_hours_care_after_school] => no
112
                            [outside_school_hours_care_before_school] => no
113
                            [outside_school_hours_care_vacation_care] => no
114
                            [other] => no
115
                        )
116
 
117
                    [overall_rating] => Meeting NQS
118
                )
119
 
120
        )
121
 
122
)

Return page 2 with childcare.json?apikey=xxxxx&type=browse&pg=2.

Searching Childcare Centers

Searching childcare centers can be made using virtually any of the values returned in the 'Detailed' response. The key is listed as a search parameter with a value to match the field name with the exception of the following:

The service_name, provider_legal_name, and service_address performs a partial search (so ?service_name=learning will match all centres with 'learning' in their name.

The number_approved_places requires either number_approved_places_min or number_approved_places_max. When only one value is defined we'll search with that value as a lower or higher limit.

The quality_area_1_rating requires should include either 1 (Working Towards NQS), 2 (Meeting NQS), 3 (Exceeding NQS), 4 (Excellent), or 5 (Significant Improvement Required) as a search parameter. Multiple ratings should be separated by a comma. To search for rows where the NQS data is excluded, use 6 ('no value').

To search by postcode, use postcode=2000. However, if radius is set to true (radius=true), we use postcode as a reference point and list results by distance (in kilometres) from the postcode used in the query.

All operating start and end times should include a 4-digit 24-hour representation of the time. So, 5.30pm becomes 1730.

You may not search by phone, fax, or email.

In this example we'll conduct a search based on distance from a postcode. The query URL of childcare.json?apikey=xxxxx&type=search&service_name=learning&postcode=2000&radius=true returns the following:

1
Array
2
(
3
    [code] => 200
4
    [status] => 200
5
    [message] => OK
6
    [source] => ACECQA
7
    [api_version] => 0.1
8
    [page] => 1
9
    [number] => 30
10
    [pages] => 35
11
    [total] => 1022
12
    [search] => Array
13
        (
14
            [type] => search
15
            [params] => Array
16
                (
17
                    [service_name] => learning
18
                    [state] => NSW
19
                    [radius] => true
20
                    [postcode] => 2000
21
                    [order] => Array
22
                        (
23
                            [field] => distance
24
                            [desc_asc] => asc
25
                        )
26
 
27
                )
28
 
29
        )
30
 
31
    [results] => Array
32
        (
33
            [0] => Array
34
                (
35
                    [service_approval_number] => SE-00006927
36
                    [provider_approval_number] => PR-00004736
37
                    [san] => 00006927
38
                    [pan] => 00004736
39
                    [service_approval] => Array
40
                        (
41
                            [service_name] => Castlereagh Street Early Learning Centre
42
                            [provider_legal_name] => Guardian Corporate Early Learning Centres Pty Ltd
43
                            [service_address] => 9 Castlereagh Street
44
                            [suburb] => SYDNEY
45
                            [state] => NSW
46
                            [postcode] => 2000
47
                            [phone] => 0292314777
48
                            [fax] => 0292314766
49
                            [email_address] => castlereaghstreetelc@xxxxx.edu.au
50
                        )
51
 
52
                    [services] => Array
53
                        (
54
                            [long_day_care] => yes
55
                            [preschool_kindergarten_part_of_school] => no
56
                            [preschool_kindergarten_stand_alone] => no
57
                            [outside_school_hours_care_after_school] => no
58
                            [outside_school_hours_care_before_school] => no
59
                            [outside_school_hours_care_vacation_care] => no
60
                            [other] => no
61
                        )
62
 
63
                    [overall_rating] => Exceeding NQS
64
                    [distance] => 1
65
                )
66
 
67
            [1] => Array
68
                (
69
                    [service_approval_number] => SE-00006931
70
                    [provider_approval_number] => PR-00004736
71
                    [san] => 00006931
72
                    [pan] => 00004736
73
 
74
                    [.. SNIP .. ]

The distance isn't overly accurate at this stage because we're using the postal code coordinates as a reference rather than the actual reverse-geocoded coordinates for the childcare center. This will change soon.

Childcare Centers Statistics

Quering childcare.json?apikey=xxxxx&type=stats returns a large number of stats relating to the data. A sample extract is as follows (there's far too much data to return for the sake of the example).

1
Array
2
(
3
    [code] => 200
4
    [status] => 200
5
    [message] => OK
6
    [source] => ACECQA
7
    [api_version] => 0.1
8
    [page] => 1
9
    [number] => 30
10
    [search] => Array
11
        (
12
            [type] => stats
13
        )
14
 
15
    [data] => Array
16
        (
17
            [overall_rating_summary] => Array
18
                (
19
                    [6975] => Meeting NQS
20
                    [4722] => Exceeding NQS
21
                    [3145] => Working Towards NQS
22
                    [887] =>
23
                    [49] => Excellent
24
                    [10] => Significant Improvement Required
25
                )
26
 
27
            [number_by_state] => Array
28
                (
29
                    [5442] => NSW
30
                    [4204] => VIC
31
                    [2946] => QLD
32
                    [1193] => WA
33
                    [1187] => SA
34
                    [356] => ACT
35
                    [235] => TAS
36
                    [221] => NT
37
                    [4] =>
38
                )
39
 
40
            [service_type_summary] => Array
41
                (
42
                    [15136] => Centre-Based Care
43
                    [652] => Family Day Care
44
                )
45
 
46
            [number_approved_places_summary] => Array
47
                (
48
                    [923] => 30
49
                    [880] => 60
50
                    [715] => 75
51
                    [652] =>
52
                    [650] => 45
53
                    [624] => 40
54
                    [487] => 50
55
                    [449] => 90
56
                    [382] => 20
57
                    [359] => 24
58
                    [336] => 29
59
 
60
                    [ .. SNIP .. ]

WordPress Plugin

We have a WordPress plugin available for clients (as we do a naked non-WordPress version) that creates a full searchable directory of all centres but it competes with the primary purpose of how we use the data. So, if you wanted a basic search website built we'd tend to encourage a standalone website rather than integrating it into your own website in any way. If you'd like us to build a small site for you please let us know and we'll have the project scheduled.

Access

Access to almost all of our services is limited to clients (an API Key is provided with a lifetime licence). If external access is required please make contact with us.

National Quality Standards

As a father to childcare-aged children, educating myself on the National Quality Framework (and associated standards ), and understanding the grading system was important. For the sake of completion, and to provide additional understanding of the data, the following is a general overview of the National Quality Standard PDF Image (PDF, January 2019).

National Quality Standards (Childcare)

The graphic below as sourced from the Starting Blocks website provides a more general overview of the applicable ratings. You may come across a service with a classification of "Provisional - The service has not yet been assessed". This is because services are generally allowed 6 months or so after approval prior to being assessed, and during this time they show this rating.

Childcare National Quality Framework

Both the websites listed above provide insight into relevant legislation, regulations, and centre expectations.

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