MSD Approval for OSCAR

This page briefly explains the MSD Approval process, as well as OSCAR Funding and OSCAR Fee Subsidy. You will also find links here to further information provided by the agencies responsible. (What is OSCAR?)


The OSCAR sector is not governed by any specific regulations. An operator of an OSCAR service must however comply with all relevant general legislation such as the Health and Safety in Employment Act, Employment Relations Act, Human Rights Act, Privacy Act etc.

The MSD Standards for OSCAR services are a set of operating requirements which a large proportion of the OSCAR sector complies with. They are not compulsory, however parents who wish to apply for Work and Income OSCAR Fee Subsidy must have enrolled their children in a service that complies with these standards.

Also in order to be eligible to receive OSCAR Funding from the Ministry of Social Development, an OSCAR service must comply with these standards. An OSCAR service that complies with the MSD Standards, will usually refer to being "OSCAR Approved" or "MSD Approved".

MSD OSCAR Approval

If you are starting a new programme, please read this first: establishment information.

To become an MSD Approved OSCAR service, you must demonstrate that your service complies with the MSD Level 3 Social Sector Accreditation Standards. Read the standards here.  

(NOTE: in 2016"the OSCAR Standards" were replaced by the "MSD Level 3 Social Service Accreditation Standards".)

When applying for Approval, you need to submit evidence (policies, procedures and forms) that demonstrate that your service complies with the MSD Standards. An assessor will review your documents, make contact with you and visit your service to meet with you and view your facilities. Once the assessor is satisfied that your service meets all the standards, you will receive a certificate confirming this, including the maximum number of children that the Approval is valid for.

More information on the approval process can be found at the Ministry of Social Development OSCAR Approval page. We also strongly recommend that your first steps should include that you download and read the MSD Standards. For further assistance with preparing for MSD Approval please use the advice and support links on the contacts page.

NOTE: Obtaining MSD Approval is a requirement to be eligible to apply for OSCAR Funding but it does not guarantee that your service will receive OSCAR Funding. Separate requirements apply for OSCAR Funding and are explained further below.


The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) provides contract-based funding for OSCAR services. NOTE THAT ALL CURRENT MSD FUNDS FOR OSCAR SERVICES ARE FULLY COMMITTED. You are welcome register through our contacts page to receive sector updates and notices, which may occasionally include updates regarding MSD funding.

If your programme has a current MSD contract, you should take note that contracts usually come up for renewal in April each year and it is essential to ensure MSD are notified if any contact details for your programme changes.

MSD Contact:

Guidelines for Change of Ownership for MSD-contracted OSCAR providers.

Some additional information is available at the MSD OSCAR Funding web page.

Work and Income OSCAR Fee Subsidy

Parents can apply for financial asssistance from Work and Income to help with their before/after school care and school holiday programme fees. The programme must be "MSD Approved for OSCAR". Other eligibility criteria apply and are explained here.

OSCAR Fee subsidy information

"OSCAR Approval" - A Short History

The MSD OSCAR Standards were introduced in 1999. They were originally called the “Child, Youth and Family Guidelines for Approval for OSCAR Services”and any parent who wished to access the OSCAR Fee Subsidy had to use a service that met these guidelines.

In 2002, grant funding for OSCAR services was made available through the Ministry of Social Development. To access funding, organisations had to meet a range of criteria, including MSD approval under these standards. This stimulated a steady increase in the number of approved services. 

"CYF Standards" and "CYF Approval" were terms used until 2012, because the Department of Child, Youth and Family (CYF) was responsible for the Approval process. The Approvals team moved from CYF in 2012 and the more correct term is now "MSD Approval". The proces and standards remain essentially unchanged and is sometimes referred to as "OSCAR Approval".

The OSCAR Standards were substantially revised in 2011 and in 2016 they were replaced by the MSD Level 3 Social Sector Accreditation Standards, which includes a specialist standard for OSCAR services.

Quick links

What is OSCAR?

OSCAR Approval (MSD Information)

What does "OSCAR Approved" mean?

MSD Standards for OSCAR 

Application form for OSCAR Approval

MSD Approvals Contact Information


OSCAR Fee Subsidy

Establishing a New OSCAR Service

OSCAR Approval & Venue Capacity

Tips for Gaining Re-Approval

A service must be "OSCAR Approved" if parents want to access OSCAR Fee Subsidy when attending that service. All OSCAR Programmes that have MSD OSCAR funding contracts are required to be "OSCAR Approved".

"OSCAR Approval", OSCAR funding contracts and OSCAR Fee Subsidy are each administered by different agencies within the Ministry of Social Development. 


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