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3.4.4 Child care attendance

Last Modified: 14-Nov-2019 Review Date: 01-Oct-2017

Purpose

To inform child protection workers of Australian Government assistance available for the payment of child care fees and the process for accessing this assistance for children in the care of the CEO.

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

For information about Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) (child wellbeing) for children not in care but considered at risk, refer to Chapter 1.2.5 Intensive Family Support and Chapter 1.2.3 Establishment payment to informal relative carers for Additional Child Care Subsidy (grandparent). 

Practice Requirements

 

  • 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 before you make any arrangements to enrol the child with an approved child care service.
  • You must record decisions about child care in the child's care plan and the anticipated costs approved in the funding component in Assist.
  • You must liaise with the carer and approved child care provider about the child care, the application for Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing). You must advise the provider that the child is in the CEO's care.
  • You must advise the foster or family carer to apply for the Child Care Subsidy before a child in care attends child care. You should also assist the carer with the Child Care Subsidy application process.
  • 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.
  • If it is agreed that the child will not attend childcare at any point you must advise the carer to cease the enrolment as per the childcare provider's policies.  

 

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

Procedures

  • Overview
  • CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) for children in the CEO’s care
  • Where CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) does not apply
  • Determining if a child requires child care
  • Approval of child care and enrolment at the child care centre
  • 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?
  • Overview

    The Australian Government introduced changes to Child Care Services which took effect on 2 July 2018. The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) has replaced Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.

    The Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) (child wellbeing) provides additional fee assistance on top of the CCS to support vulnerable or disadvantaged families and children. The ACCS (child wellbeing) applies to both children in care and those who are not in care but considered 'at risk'. The CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) is paid directly to child care providers.

    Full information for child care providers and services involved in the administration of 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 and Training website.

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    CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) for children in the CEO’s care

    Foster or family carers must apply for the CCS before a child in care attends child care. An application for CCS must be made before ACCS (child wellbeing) is paid. You should assist the carer with the CCS application process. The information sheet on child care in related resources should be given to and discussed with carers.

    Regardless of whether the foster or family carer is eligible for CCS or not, the Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) will apply 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 is 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.

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    Where CCS and ACCS (child wellbeing) does not apply

    If a child in the CEO's care resides in a Department residential facility, the Department is liable to pay all fees for child care. 

    If the child is in a family group home managed by a community sector 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. You should 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 foster or family carer. You must consider a range of factors, including any potential undesirable impacts on the child through prolonged separation from the foster or family carer.

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

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

    There are a number of steps required to enroll a child in care in child care that involve the carer, child protection worker, child care provider and Centrelink. Child protection workers should assist carers as part of the enrolment process.

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    Approval of child care and enrolment at the child care centre

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

    The foster or family carer must list themselves as the primary contact and the child protection worker as the secondary contact.

    The foster or family carer must nominate emergency contacts – one must be the child protection worker and for after hours Crisis Care.

    Decisions about the need for child care must be documented in the child's care plan and the associated costs approved in the funding component in Assist.

    Note: The child's care plan can be modified to record the child care decisions without the need to consult 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 Act).

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    Approval of child care and enrolment at the child care centre

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

    The foster or family carer must list themselves as the primary contact and the child protection worker as the secondary contact.

    The foster or family carer must nominate emergency contacts – one must be the child protection worker and for after hours Crisis Care.

    Decisions about the need for child care must be documented in the child's care plan and the associated costs approved in the funding component in Assist.

    Note: The child's care plan can be modified to record the child care decisions without the need to consult 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 Act).

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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 foster or family carer must claim CCS through myGov.

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

    In order to claim the CCS the foster or family carer will need a Customer Reference Number (CRN). The foster or family carers CRN and the child's CRN must be linked.

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    Customer Reference Numbers (CRN)

    ​Centrelink provides a Customer Reference Number (CRN) when a foster or family carer receives payments and services from them to 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
    • 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 foster or family 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 as this an important process in applying 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, you should provide the carer with a Centrelink Placement Notification Letter (Form 024 related resources),

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    Applying for the CCS

    The foster or family carer must log into my.gov.au (myGov) 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 foster or family carer can track the progress of their CCS claim online through myGov or attend a Centrelink Office, or use the Express Plus Centrelink Mobile app.

    Centrelink will 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 foster or family 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 care, the foster or family carer need to agree to the CWA prior to the child attending child care.

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    Confirming the enrolment in the CCS

    ​After agreeing to the CWA, Centrelink will send a confirmation request to the foster or family carer in myGov.  The foster or family carer must go into the CCS and confirm the enrolment. Centrelink  then notifies the child care provider.

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    Next steps

    ​Once the enrolment is confirmed with the child care provider and Centrelink, the child protection worker will provide the child care provider with the Child Care Arrangement Letter (the letter outlines the placement details and other information relevant to the child's day to day needs which allows the child care provider to provide safe and appropriate care).

    The child protection worker will 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 care

    In order for the ACCS (child wellbeing) to be paid for children in care, the CCS must be applied for and approved. 

    Once the CCS is approved, you must 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.

    he child care provider is responsible for administrating certificates and determinations through their IT software system to the Department of Human Services.

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    What is a Certificate?

    A certificate allows payment of Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) for an initial period of up to six weeks. This will automatically trigger payment of Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing).

     

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    What is a Determination?

    When the first six weeks of Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) is about to expire the child care provider will be notified through their IT software system that further evidence is required. The child care provider will need to seek a determination through the Department of Human Services.

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

    Note: Where the ACCS (child wellbeing) subsidy is delayed due to the Department of Human Services and the child care centre not being able to seek any further backdating, the Department is responsible for that period of payment.

    Organising child care and applying for CSS and ACCS in clear steps and in a timely way to make sure payments are made by the Department of Human Services is therefore crucial.

    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, you must ask the foster or family carer to provide them with a copy of the letter from Centrelink which advises this.
    2. You must then contact the child care provider, give them the copy of this letter and ask them to create an 'ACCS (child wellbeing) – provider eligible' enrolment type for the child.

    The ACCS (child wellbeing) letter (in related resources) must also be provided to the child care provider.

    Payment of child care fees

    The payment of fees for a child in the CEO's care is supported through the CCS and Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing).

    If the child care provider has 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 will pay this amount and the carer should be advised of this.

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

    Note: Absences, delays of determinations and CCS issues may affect the CCS and Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) payments. You must follow up with the foster, family carer and child care 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 foster or family 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 Department of Education 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 must notify the child care provider and complete the process for ceasing the enrolment, giving them the required notice. The 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, CCS and ACCS may not be paid and the Department will have to pay any outstanding fees.

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