If the provider identifies that a child is at risk of serious abuse or neglect, it may give a certificate that 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).
Initial application - providing a certificate
A provider can give a certificate for up to six weeks based on its observations and assessment of the child's circumstances. No other evidence is required at this stage.
The provider must notify the appropriate state/territory body within the first six weeks of giving a certificate (see Providing notice to an appropriate state or territory body ). If, however, the child has been referred to the child care service by an appropriate body, further notice is not required.
The certificate is given through the provider's third-party software or the Provider Entry Point, and requires:
- details of the child
- confirmation that the child's circumstances meet those outlined in the Minister's Rules
- a high-level description of the type of risk (see Eligibility )
- the period of time (up to six weeks) that a certificate is given for
- details of the state or territory body which has been given notice about the welfare of the child (this information can also be entered at a later stage - for more details, see below)
- a declaration that the information is true and correct.
A certificate commences on a Monday and is given for periods of full weeks. It can be back-dated for up to 28 days but cannot commence later than the day it is given. It can be given for up to six weeks, or for a shorter period of time if the provider believes that circumstances will change in a way that the child will no longer be at risk.
A certificate can only be given for a particular child in a particular service. If a child is enrolled in multiple services from the same provider, a certificate will need to be given for each service.
If the child has previously been given one or more Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) certificates for a total of six weeks in a 12-month period, a provider cannot give another certificate, and will need to apply for a determination instead.
Although third-party evidence does not need to be provided when a certificate is given, supporting documentation (such as staff observations) must be kept to substantiate the claim that the child is at risk of abuse or neglect.
The Department of Human Services can review a certificate. If the view is formed that the child for which the certificate was given is or was not at risk, the certificate may be varied or cancelled. Both providers and families will be told if this happens.
Cancelling or replacing a certificate
A certificate can be cancelled when the child the certificate was given for is no longer or never was at risk. This could be the case where a certificate was accidentally given for the wrong child; or where new information has come to light that the child's circumstances do not require an 'at risk' certification. Where a certificate was accidentally given for a period where the child was not at risk, a replacement certificate can be given with the correct dates.
Once the time for varying session reports has passed for the first week a certificate was in effect, the certificate can no longer be cancelled using third-party software or the Provider Entry Point. Instead, the provider must advise the Department of Human Services that a child is no longer at risk and that the certificate should be cancelled. The Department will then consider the circumstances and where appropriate, cancel the certificate. Both the provider and family will be notified of the decision.