An early childhood service that agrees to make a place available for a child on a particular date in the future may ask for deposit as security.
Asking for a deposit is not a usual practice among ECE services. It shows a service either does not have good enrolment planning in place to know when a place will become available and therefore it feels it must hold open an empty place until the date that the parent wants childcare, or it is financially struggling and eager for money in advance.
Advice to parents
Do not pay a deposit to secure a place for your child, or at least do not pay a deposit without asking for a written and signed letter that states that the deposit is fully refundable should you not be able to take up the place on the stated date or should the place not become available.
Also get it in writing that the money paid as a deposit will be deducted from your fees bill after your child starts at the service.