The medical and psychosocial needs of children and adolescents differ from those of adults, and this should be reflected in the care they receive in all areas of a health service. Children and adolescents must be accommodated separately to adults to ensure that their unique needs are met and risks of harm are minimised. The Standards for the care of children and adolescents in health services have been developed by a working group of clinicians, health service providers and consumer advocates based on a combination of available research evidence, published best practice guidelines and multidisciplinary expert consensus. Stakeholder input was obtained through invitations to comment, and pilot testing of the Standards was conducted in six metropolitan, regional and rural hospitals. The Standards provide detailed recommendations in the areas of recognising rights; the provision of child-, adolescent- and family-friendly health service facilities; the availability of child- and adolescent-specific equipment; and the importance of appropriately trained staff. To facilitate implementation and allow ongoing performance monitoring, the Standards have been developed for use alongside the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards Evaluation and Quality Improvement Program. The Standards provide a vehicle to ensure patient safety and to facilitate the provision of high-quality care for children and adolescents in Australian health services.