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14-week rule

Under the amended Family Assistance Law, a child ceases to be enrolled if 14 continuous weeks pass without the child attending a session of care at the service.

This provides a consistent timeframe across all service types, whereas before 2 July 2018, enrolments were taken to cease after different periods of non- attendance depending on the service type and whether an enrolment advance was claimed.

This arrangement is a requirement under the amended Family Assistance Law and has been implemented to ensure that enrolments at each child care service type are current and do not remain open indefinitely in the system.

26-week rule

From 11 July 2022, children who haven’t attended a session of care in 26 consecutive weeks will no longer be eligible for Child Care Subsidy. This may affect a family’s entitlement to a higher subsidy for their second child and younger children. 


An occasion when a child is not physically present for a session of care that has been agreed under a Complying Written Arrangement.

Up to 42 absence days in a financial year will be eligible for subsidised care without the need to provide reasons for the absence.

We’ve provided families with more allowable absences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic (see COVID-19 absences).

Activity test

An assessment of the combined hours of work, training, study, recognised voluntary work or other recognised activity undertaken by a family. The activity test is used to determine the number of hours of subsidised care to which a family will be entitled.

Additional absence day

An absence day that occurs after a child has been subsidised for 42 absence days in a financial year.

Child Care Subsidy can only be paid for additional absences that occur due to a reason specified under Family Assistance Law.

Additional Child Care Subsidy

A payment that provides targeted fee assistance to families and children facing barriers in accessing affordable child care in certain circumstances.

Adjusted taxable income

Adjusted taxable income is used to assess eligibility for some benefits and payments, including Child Care Subsidy. Adjusted taxable income may include taxable income, foreign income, investment losses, reportable fringe benefits and superannuation contributions. For Child Care Subsidy, in the case of a family it is the combined adjusted taxable income of both individuals.

Approved provider

A provider of child care that has been approved under Family Assistance Law to receive and pass on Child Care Subsidy on behalf of the Australian Government.


An agreement between a child care provider and an individual or organisation to provide child care in return for child care fees.

Australian Business Register

The register of businesses and organisations that have an Australian Business Number.

Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)

The national body established under the National Law to support states and territories to deliver best-practice regulation of early learning and child care and ensure national consistency in improving quality outcomes for children.

Budget Based Funded program

A program that supported child care services in locations where the market would not otherwise be viable. The program closed on 30 June 2018. Eligible services are now supported through other programs.

Centre Based Day Care

Child care that is provided in licensed or registered centres. It can include any pattern or arrangement of care provided in this setting.


The agency that delivers payments and services to individuals and families on behalf of the Australian Government.

Centrelink online account

The account used to access Centrelink online services.

Change of family circumstances

An event that changes an individual’s eligibility for Child Care Subsidy or the amount of subsidy that they are entitled to be paid.


The child who receives early learning and child care.

Child at risk

A child at risk of serious neglect or abuse and who meets the relevant criteria.

Child Care Safety Net

Targeted assistance to vulnerable and at-risk children and their families, as well as supporting child care services in disadvantaged communities to address barriers in accessing child care.

The Child Care Safety Net has three components:

  • Additional Child Care Subsidy
  • Community Child Care Fund
  • Inclusion Support Program.

Child care software

Software developed and provided by commercial providers to interact with the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy System and to support administration and management activities for child care services.

Child Care Subsidy System

The technical platform through which providers and families interact with Australian Government in relation to child care subsidies.


A family’s application for financial assistance for child care from the Australian Government. The claim includes information about a family’s circumstances, income and activity levels that allows eligibility and entitlements for Child Care Subsidy to be assessed.


A person (the individual) who is applying to be eligible for Child Care Subsidy or Additional Child Care Subsidy.

Community Child Care Fund

A fund designed to help eligible child care services address barriers to child care participation, particularly in disadvantaged communities, including Indigenous communities.

Complying Written Arrangement

An arrangement (an agreement between a child care provider and an individual to provide child care in return for fees) that includes required information.

Customer Reference Number

An individual reference number allocated by Centrelink for each child and one for each parent or guardian who is claiming Child Care Subsidy (or any welfare benefit via Centrelink).


If an individual or approved child care provider has been paid more than they were entitled to receive, the amount more than their entitlement is a debt to the Australian Government.


A person who provides care for someone else’s child or children at a child care service, in their own home or, in the case of In Home Care, in the child’s own home.


An enrolment occurs when the provider has an arrangement with an individual or organisation to provide care to a child and the provider submits an enrolment notice in the Child Care Subsidy System. It is a requirement under Family Assistance Law for all children who attend child care (or have an arrangement for care) to have an enrolment notice regardless of their Child Care Subsidy eligibility status.

Enrolment notice

The notice given by a provider through the Child Care Subsidy System that they have made an arrangement with an individual or organisation to provide care to a child.

Exceptional circumstances

Circumstances that affect a child or family that justify variations to Child Care Subsidy eligibility requirements, such as residency or immunisation or other conditions of Child Care Subsidy—determined by the Australian Government on a case-by-case basis in response to an application.

Family Assistance Law

Has the same meaning as in section 3 of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 and includes A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999; the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999; and legislative instruments made under those Acts, including the Child Care Subsidy Minister's Rules 2017and the Child Care Subsidy Secretary's Rules 2017.

Family Day Care

A type of child care that is usually provided in the home of an educator.

Fee reduction amount

The Child Care Subsidy payments a provider receives on the behalf of an individual. Fee reduction amounts will be adjusted for withholding of 5 per cent where it applies (although this amount can be varied).

Financial hardship

Occurs when there is an unforeseeable event that reduces a family’s ability to pay for child care fees.

Fit and proper person

A person who is considered suitable to be involved in the administration of child care subsidies on behalf of the Australian Government and families, having regard to matters including their history of compliance with the law and responsible financial management.


Natural, adoptive or step-grandparent (or great-grandparent) of the grandchild. Includes the grandparent’s (or great-grandparent’s) current or former partner.


Detriment to a child’s wellbeing.

Higher CCS for families with multiple children Families with more than one child aged 5 or under in care will get a higher subsidy for their second child and younger children. Eligible second and younger children get a 30% higher subsidy on top of their income-tested CCS rate, up to a maximum of 95%.

Hourly rate cap

The maximum amount the Australian Government will subsidise for each hour of care. Hourly rate caps are different for different care types. They provide a guide to providers and families about what a high fee might be.

Hourly session fees

Hourly session fees are the amount that the individual, or the partner, must pay for a session of care, divided by the number of hours in the session and reduced by:

  • the hourly rate of any subsidy (other than Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy) that the individual benefits from for that session—such as a subsidy paid by the parent’s employer to reduce their child care fees
  • the amount per hour of any reimbursement fringe benefit that is paid to the individual for that session.

Hourly session fees are required to calculate Child Care Subsidy entitlements, but providers may charge fees on a sessional basis.

In Home Care

A flexible form of early childhood education and care where an educator provides care in the child’s home. It is restricted to families who are unable to access other forms of early childhood education.

Inclusion Agencies

Agencies contracted by the Australian Government to help child care providers make their services more inclusive for children with particular needs, such as disability.

Inclusion Development Fund

Funding available to assist eligible child care services to address a barrier to inclusion that cannot be addressed through the support of an Inclusion Agency.

Inclusion Support Program

A program that assists child care services to include children with additional needs by providing tailored inclusion advice and support from contracted Inclusion Agencies as well as funding to address more challenging inclusion barriers.


The person who is liable to pay the child care service fees. The individual is often the child’s parent (or the parent’s partner) but may be another adult with legal responsibility for the child.

‘Initial 42 days’ absence

One of up to 42 days’ absence for which Child Care Subsidy is payable for a child in a financial year, with no reason required to be given.


Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance—a payment that ceased on 30 June 2018.

Lower income threshold

The family income threshold above which the Child Care Subsidy percentage first starts to decrease.

Minister’s Rules

A legislative instrument that provides certain details about how Family Assistance Law is implemented.


The website that provides a secure way for individuals and families to access Australian Government services, including their Centrelink online account, with one login and one password.

National Law and National Regulations

Refers to the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011, which set a national standard for children’s education and care across Australia. In effect, the same law is applied in each state and territory but with some variation for the needs of each state or territory.

National Quality Framework

A jointly governed uniform national approach to the regulation and quality assessment of education and care services, including a national legislative framework that consists of the National Law and National Regulations; a National Quality Standard; and an assessment and rating system.


A failure to be provided with the basic needs that are essential for the child’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

Nominated child

For In Home Care only—to apply the Child Care Subsidy In Home Care family entitlement, one child in each session of care must be nominated and have the fee reported against them. Refer to the In Home Care Handbook for further guidance.

Non-standard hours

Hours of care in a child care service outside standard hours. Applicable only to Family Day Care and In Home Care services.


Changes in the circumstances of an approved provider, which the provider is required to notify to the Australian Government under Family Assistance Law.

Outside School Hours Care

Provides care before and after school hours and during school vacations for children who normally attend school.

Parenting/consent order

An order made by the Family Court when parents cannot decide matters concerning their children.

Payment advice

Notification issued to providers by the Department of Human Services setting out the details of entitlements calculated and payments made for children enrolled in their service. Payment advice is issued through the provider’s child care software or the PEP.

Payment and Service Finder

An online payment finder that helps families identify which payments they may be entitled to receive.

Principal carer

A grandparent who is assessed as the principal carer of their grandchild must provide all or at least 65 per cent of ongoing daily care for the child and have substantial autonomy for the day-to-day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development.


A person or business entity that is responsible for operating a child care service (or services).

Provider Digital Access (PRODA)

A system to authenticate an individual’s digital identity so that they may interact with various government digital and online systems without requiring identity verification for every interaction.

Provider Entry Point (PEP)

Part of the secure Child Care Subsidy System through which providers can apply for provider and service approval and which subsequently enables them to access information, add or remove a service, make notice of a change in their circumstances, and give enrolment notices and session reports in relation to Child Care Subsidy.

Provider ID

A provider’s unique identity number in the Child Care Subsidy System.

Reconciliation (income review)

A process that happens when an individual submits their tax return (or a statement that no tax return is required) after the end of a financial year. The individual’s actual income is determined, and Child Care Subsidy payments that should have been made are calculated and compared with the payments they received (based on estimates). After reconciliation, any outstanding subsidy will be paid to the individual or notification will be given of any debts incurred.

Regular care

Occurs when a child is in the individual’s care for at least 14 per cent, but less than 35 per cent, of a care period and would be a Family Tax Benefit child of the individual but for the child being in the individual’s care for less than 35 per cent of the care period.

Regulatory authority

The state and territory authority responsible for the administration of the National Quality Framework within that jurisdiction.

Reimbursement fringe benefit

The amount by which an individual or the individual’s partner is reimbursed by a person for the individual’s or partner’s liability to pay for a session of care.

If the reimbursement is a fringe benefit within the meaning of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986, or would be such a fringe benefit but for paragraph (g) of the definition of ‘fringe benefit’ in subsection 136(1) of that Act.

Rural/remote locations

Non-metropolitan areas that are defined in the Australian Standard Geographic Classification as ‘inner regional, ‘outer regional, ‘remote’ or ‘very remote’.

School-age child

A child who:

  • attends primary or secondary school
  • is on a break from school and will be returning to primary or secondary school after that break (for example, school holidays), or
  • has reached six years of age.

School-age children include children who attend the year before Grade 1 of primary school.

Secretary’s Rules

A legislative instrument that provides certain details about how Family Assistance Law is implemented.


The child care that is delivered by a provider in a site or setting. There are different types of child care services. One provider may deliver one or more services, which may include different service types and/or different service sites.

Session of care

The period that a provider is charging a fee for providing care to an enrolled child.

Shared care

When two or more people (often, but not always, separated parents) are responsible for the care of the child and are both individuals for the purposes of Child Care Subsidy.


A brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, adoptive brother, adoptive sister, stepbrother or stepsister.

Statement of Entitlement

A fortnightly statement from a provider to a family giving details of sessions of care provided, the child’s attendance and resulting fee reduction amounts.

The Secretary

The Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Education.


An unfilled and available place in a child care service:

  • for a Centre Based Day Care service or a Family Day Care service—an ongoing full day vacancy
  • for an Outside School Hours Care service—an ongoing full session vacancy.

Vacation care

Where a parent only utilises child care during school holidays.


Five per cent of Child Care Subsidy, usually withheld by the Department of Human Services, to reduce the likelihood that individuals will incur a debt. The amount withheld will be part of the gap fee that needs to be paid by parents.

Working with children checks

A process to screen a person’s criminal records and any reports about professional conduct that may affect their suitability to work with children. This is one of several safeguards to provide safe environments for children. The name of the check and the process may be different in different states and territories.