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3.4.9 Child care attendance

Last Modified: 24-Mar-2022 Review Date: 01-Oct-2017

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation

Overview

The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) (child wellbeing) provide fee assistance to support vulnerable or disadvantaged families and children. The ACCS (child wellbeing) applies to children in the CEO's care, children on a Protection Order (Special Guardianship) and those who are not in the CEO's care but considered 'at risk'. The CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) are paid directly to the childcare provider.

Full information for child care providers and services involved in the administration of the CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) can be found in the Guide to Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) and on the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

For information about the CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) for children not in the CEO's care but considered at risk, refer to Chapter 1.2 Intensive Family Support and Chapter 1.2 Establishment payment to informal relative carers for Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent). 

Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities (the Department).

Rules

 You must:

  • establish a need for a child in the CEO's care to attend a child care service.  This must be approved by your district director (DD) before you make any arrangements to enrol the child.

  • record decisions about child care in the child's care plan and the anticipated costs approved in the funding component in Assist.

  • liaise with the carer and approved child care provider about the child care, the application for CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) and advise the provider that the child is in the CEO's care.

  • advise the foster or family carer to apply for the CCS before a child in the CEO's care attends child care.

 

Process Maps
    
​Attendance of a child at a child care service.

Information and Instructions

  • Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy
  • Where the Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) do not apply
  • Determining if a child requires child care
  • Approval of child care and enrolment at the child care centre
  • Recording in the Child Information Portal
  • Centrelink – myGov
  • Customer Reference Numbers (CRN)
  • Applying for the CCS
  • Complying Written Arrangements
  • Confirming the enrolment in the CCS
  • Next steps
  • What is a Certificate?
  • What is a Determination?
  • Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy

    The child's foster or family carers must apply for the CCS before the child in the CEO's care attends child care. Applications for the CCS must be made before the ACCS (child wellbeing) is paid. Your role is to assist the carer with the CCS application process and discuss the information sheet on child care (also in related resources). 

    Regardless of whether the foster or family carer is eligible for the CCS, they will be eligible for ACCS (child wellbeing) as the Australian Government Child Care Subsidy Minister's Rules 2017 Section 10 supports payment of ACCS (child wellbeing):

    "(h) where the child is a resident of Western Australia at the time the session of care is provided – the child is in need of protection under the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)".

    This means that children in provisional protection and care and on a protection order (time-limited) or a protection order (until 18) in a foster or family care arrangement are eligible for ACCS (child wellbeing).

    The child can only be enrolled with a CCS approved child care provider service to get this assistance. In most cases the ACCS (child wellbeing) will cover the full cost of child care. Where the fee charged by the child care provider is higher than the ACCS (child wellbeing) hourly rate cap, the Department can arrange to pay any difference directly to the child care provider.

    The child must meet the immunisation requirements for a carer to claim Child Care Subsidy – refer to Chapter 3.2 Medical or dental treatment  – including immunisations. 

    Children on a protection order (special guardianship)

    Children who are the subject of a protection order (special guardianship) (SGO) are eligible for the ACCS (child wellbeing) under Division 3 of the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Act 2017 (Family Assistance Act): 'an individual is eligible for the ACCS (child wellbeing) where a child is or was at risk of serious abuse or neglect at the time an approved childcare service provides or provided care to the child'.

    A child who is the subject of an SGO is considered to be 'at risk' for the purpose of accessing ACCS (child wellbeing) without the need for any additional evidence of risk. 

    The district is responsible for completing and providing the Support letter ACCS (child wellbeing) – child on SGO to the childcare service (letter also in related resources).  The guardian is responsible for paying any gap fees.      

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    Where the Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) do not apply

    If a child in the CEO's care resides in a Department residential facility, the Department pays all fees for child care. 

    If the child is in a family group home managed by a community service organisation (CSO), in most cases the carers are employed by the CSO and will not be able to claim the CCS/ACCS (child wellbeing).  However, in some instances the CSO carer may be a volunteer. You must check with the CSO to confirm if the carer is an employee or volunteer. 

    If the carer is a volunteer the CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) will apply. Work with the CSO to support the carer to apply for CCS.

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    Determining if a child requires child care

    You must establish the need for child care in consultation with the carer. Consider a range of factors, including any potential undesirable impacts on the child through prolonged separation from the carer.

    If the child is to attend child care the foster or family carer must apply for the CCS through their myGov account.

    The CCS is the main payment to assist families with the costs of child care.

    There are several steps required to enrol a child in the CEO's care in child care service.  These steps involve the carer, child protection worker, child care provider and Centrelink. 

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    Approval of child care and enrolment at the child care centre

    ​If child care is approved by the DD, discuss child care with the carer, find an approved child care provider, and complete the child care enrolment form.

    The carer is listed as the primary contact and you are listed as the secondary contact.

    The carer must nominate emergency contacts – you must be one, and list the Statewide Referral and Response Service (SRRS) for after-hours contact.

    Record decisions about the need for child care in the child's care plan and approve the associated costs in the funding component in Assist.

    The child's care plan can be modified to record the childcare decisions without having to consult with all parties. However, all relevant parties must be given a copy of the modified care plan or modification (as the case requires) within 14 working days of it being approved.

    A copy of the modified care plan or modification may be withheld from a party if it considered that providing a copy would pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child or another person (s.89(7) of the Children and Community Services Act 2004).


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    Recording in the Child Information Portal

    Once child care has been approved, you must record the enrolment date and child care service details in the Child Information Portal (CIP) in Assist.

    If the service is not listed in Assist or the details are incorrect, contact Client Applications. Full details for recording in the CIP can be found in the Assist User Guide – Child Information Portal and the QCR (in related resources).

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    Centrelink – myGov

    After finding a child care provider and enrolling a child, the carer claims the CCS through their myGov account.

    myGov is a secure way to access government services online with one login and one password. The carer can link several services that relate to Centrelink. For further information visit https://my.gov.au/mygov/content/html/about.html

    To claim the CCS the carer will need a Customer Reference Number (CRN). 

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    Customer Reference Numbers (CRN)

    ​Centrelink provides a CRN when a carer receives payments and services from them to identify personal records. A CRN has nine numbers and ends with a letter. For example: 123 456 789A.

    A CRN is used when customers:

    • apply for payments and services
    • create an online account through myGov, and
    • record or update information with Centrelink.

    Most people get a CRN when they claim their first payment or register their details with Centrelink.

    A CRN is required to:

    If the carer does not have a CRN they will need to visit a service centre to confirm their identity to get a CRN. During their visit to Centrelink they can also ask for Centrelink to set up a Centrelink online account.

    Linking the CRN Numbers

    The CRN for both the child and the carer must be linked to apply for the CCS. In most cases where carers receive payments from Centrelink for the child, the CRNs will be linked.

    If the CRN of the carer and the child is not linked, provide the carer with Form 024 Centrelink Placement Notification Letter (in related resources).

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    Applying for the CCS

    Carers must log into their myGov account to apply for the CCS. When the CCS has been submitted the carer is notified with the following details:

    • That they have successfully submitted the claim.
    • The ID number of the claim.
    • An estimated completion date.
    • A link to track the CCS progress.

    The carer can track the progress of their CCS claim online through myGov, attend a Centrelink Office, or use the Express Plus Centrelink Mobile app.

    Centrelink provide the foster or family carer with a result of the claim and will send an assessment notice by one of the following:

    • myGov Inbox.
    • Centrelink online account.
    • Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
    • Mail, if the carer does not receive electronic letters.

    It is important that the carer checks on the progress of the CCS with Centrelink in myGov, agree to the 'Complying Written Arrangement', and confirm enrolment.

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    Complying Written Arrangements

    The 'Complying Written Arrangement' (CWA) is an arrangement for child care between the child care provider and an individual (parent or carer) that sets out the child care arrangements such as days, time and fees for the child's care.

    For a child in the CEO's care, the carer must agree to the CWA prior to the child attending child care.

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    Confirming the enrolment in the CCS

    ​After the carer agrees to the CWA, Centrelink send a confirmation request to the carer in myGov.  The carer must go into the CCS and confirm the enrolment. Centrelink then notify the child care provider.

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    Next steps

    ​Once the enrolment is confirmed with the child care provider and Centrelink, give the child care provider the Child Care Arrangement Letter. The letter outlines the care arrangement details and other information relevant to the child's day to day needs allowing the child care provider to provide safe and appropriate care.

    You should also provide the Support Letter for ACCS (child wellbeing) child in care, to the child care provider for the ACCS to be applied. Both the Child Care Arrangement and Support Letter for ACCS (child wellbeing) child in care, are available in related resources.

    For further information on the enrolment process refer to diagram on page 25 in the Care Provider Handbook.   

    Getting the ACCS (child wellbeing) applied for children in the CEO's care

    For the ACCS (child wellbeing) to be paid for children in the CEO's care, the CCS must be applied for and approved. 

    Once the CCS is approved, give the Support Letter for ACCS (child wellbeing) child in care (in related resources) to the child care provider. This letter is used by the child care provider to apply for the ACCS (child wellbeing) for the child via a certificate or determination.

    The Commonwealth Government has confirmed that a copy of the protection order is not necessary as the letter serves as proof for the ACCS.

    The child care provider is responsible for administrating certificates and determinations through their IT software system to Services Australia.

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    What is a Certificate?

    A certificate allows payment of ACCS (child wellbeing) for an initial period of up to six weeks. This will automatically trigger the payment.

     

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    What is a Determination?

    When the first six weeks of ACCS (child wellbeing) is about to expire the child care provider is notified that further evidence is required. If the child care provider believes that the ACCS subsidy should be continued, they can apply to Services Australia for a longer period, from 13 weeks up to 52 weeks if the child is: 

    • on a long term protection order
    • in formal foster care, or in a
    • formal kinship care arrangement. 

    Decisions of determination are managed by Services Australia and can be delayed, however, the child care provider can backdate up to 28 days.

    Where the ACCS (child wellbeing) subsidy is delayed due to Services Australia and the childcare provider is not able to seek any further backdating, the Department is responsible for that period of payment.

    Therefore, it is crucial to organise childcare and apply for the CSS and ACCS in a timely manner to ensure that Services Australia make the payments.

    If the CCS is not approved

    In most cases the CCS will be approved. Where the CCS is not approved the ACCS (child wellbeing) still applies.

    1. If CCS is not approved, ask the carer to give you a copy of the letter from Centrelink which advised them of this.

    2. Contact the child care provider, give them a copy of this letter and ask them to create an 'ACCS (child wellbeing) – provider eligible' enrolment type for the child.

    3. Give the child care provider the completed ACCS (child wellbeing) leter (in related resources).

    Payment of child care fees

    Payment of fees for a child in the CEO's care is supported through the CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing).

    If there is a gap fee after the CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) has been applied, the child care provider issues the invoice to the Department for payment.

    The invoice should have the following details: 

    • The carer's name and child's name.
    • Attendance summary showing sign in and out times.
    • Hourly rate.
    • The CCS component paid.
    • The ACCS (child wellbeing) component paid, and gap fee amount (the amount after the CCS and ACCS has been applied). The Department pays this amount and you should advise the carer of this.

    You must reconcile the invoice promptly and organise payment of the outstanding amount directly to the child care service. 

    Absences, delays of determinations and CCS issues may affect the CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) payments. 

    You must follow up with the foster or family carer and child care provider to rectify the matter to avoid the costs where the CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) is applicable.

    Absences

    If the child is not able to attend child care the carer should notify the child care provider.

    Some absences are allowable without affecting payment of the CCS and ACCS.  If the child does not attend the session of care, or part of a session of care, the service will be charged. The CCS and ACCS can be still paid as long as the absence is allowable. Families are allowed 42 absence days per child, per financial year.

    For further information please refer to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment Absences from child care.

    Ceasing enrolments

    You and the carer should discuss the reasons why a child does not require childcare any longer.  Once agreed, the carer notifies the child care provider, completes the process for ceasing the enrolment, and gives them the required notice. 

    Fees may be charged for up two weeks past notification as per the childcare provider's policy.  If the child does not attend childcare and the required notice has not been given, the CCS and ACCS may not be paid and the Department will have to pay any outstanding fees.

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