Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) child wellbeing provides assistance with the cost of child care for families who care for a child at risk of serious abuse or neglect. Unlike other subsidies, providers apply for the child wellbeing subsidy on behalf of a family.
On this page:
The child wellbeing subsidy is for children at risk of serious abuse or neglect.
Families must meet criteria to get the subsidy. The parent or carer must:
- be eligible for Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
- care for a child who is at risk of serious abuse or neglect.
In rare cases, you may identify a child at risk whose parent or carer is not eligible for CCS. If this happens, you – the provider – may be able to get the subsidy on behalf of the child.
In most cases, the subsidy covers the full cost of child care.
Eligible families will get the lower of either:
- 100% of the fee charged where it’s equal to or below the hourly rate cap
- up to 120% of the hourly rate cap where the fee charged is above the hourly rate cap.
Identifying a child at risk
A child is considered at risk if they are exposed to:
- serious physical, emotional or psychological abuse
- sexual abuse
- domestic or family violence
A child is also considered at risk if they:
- are likely to experience any of the above in the future
- are in formal foster care or formal kinship placement
- have been identified as being at risk under state or territory child protection law.
The Guide to ACCS child wellbeing has more details on identifying children at risk.
Talking to the family
If you identify a child at risk, you should have a conversation with the family.
Engaging with vulnerable families can:
- prevent issues from escalating
- help them feel included in the process
- help them understand the benefits of the subsidy
- ensure they’re aware of available support services and agencies.
Generally, you should have a conversation with the family before applying.
In some cases, you may consider delaying the conversation. For example, if doing so could result in the family withdrawing their child from care.
The Guide to ACCS child wellbeing has guidance on why, how and when to have the conversation.
It is critical that you discuss the requirement for the family to apply for CCS if they haven’t already.
Services Australia cannot pay the subsidy until after a parent or carer has applied and been found eligible. Families can apply through their Centrelink online account.
Services Australia can only backdate payments up to 28 days before the family lodged their successful claim. Families may miss out on payments if they delay applying.
A key requirement of CCS is that children meet the immunisation requirements. If a child does not meet the immunisation requirements, their CCS claim will not be approved. The family will need to make a new claim once the child has met the immunisation requirements.
If you cannot identify a CCS-eligible parent or carer, you – the provider – may be able to get the subsidy on behalf of the child. This is known as a provider eligible arrangement or ‘PEA’.
Enrolling the child
You must ensure the child is enrolled correctly, based on their circumstances. Families may miss out on payments if their child is not enrolled correctly.
Below is a summary of the types of enrolments you should use. The Guide to ACCS child wellbeing has detailed guidance on enrolling a child at risk correctly.
Complying Written Arrangement
Where you can identify a CCS-eligible parent or carer, you must enrol the child under a Complying Written Arrangement (CWA).
This is the most common type of enrolment. Most children who get ACCS are enrolled under a CWA.
Provider Eligible Arrangement
If you cannot identify a CCS-eligible parent or carer to receive the subsidy, you may be able to enrol the child under a PEA.
A PEA enables Services Australia to pay the subsidy directly to you. It can only be used in very limited circumstances. For example, when a child is at risk but their parent or carer does not meet the CCS residence rules.
Where parents do not meet CCS residency rules, you must first email firstname.lastname@example.org before creating a PEA. We will confirm if you are eligible to enrol the child under a PEA.
You can also use a PEA for up to 13 weeks for children in formal foster care. This ensures foster children have access to the subsidy while their foster carer is assessed for CCS. We expect you to work with foster families to identify a CCS-eligible individual and enter into a CWA before the 13-week period ends.
In order for a provider to be eligible for a PEA, the child must meet the immunisation requirements.
If the child does not meet the immunisation requirements, or their immunisation status is unknown, you must complete this form and email it to email@example.com.
We will then determine if the child can receive the subsidy based on the circumstances. We can only make this determination if the child would be at increased risk if we did not do so.
Applying for the subsidy
Providers give families access to the subsidy through a certificate or determination.
Giving a certificate
A certificate is generally the first step in gaining access to the subsidy. It gives a family immediate access to the subsidy for up to 6 weeks.
The decision to give a certificate lies with the provider. You should consider the advice in the Guide to ACCS child wellbeing when deciding whether a certificate is appropriate.
Complete and submit the certificate in the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software. See our task card on creating a certificate in the PEP.
Applying for a determination
If you believe the child will continue to be at risk after the 6-week certificate period ends, you can apply to Services Australia for a determination.
If approved, a determination provides further access to the subsidy.
In most cases, it provides access for up to 13 weeks. You can apply for subsequent determinations if the child will continue to be at risk after 13 weeks.
You can apply for up to 52 weeks if the child:
- is on a long term protection order
- is in formal foster care
- is in a formal kinship care arrangement.
Your application must include evidence that shows the child continues to be at risk. The Guide to ACCS child wellbeing outlines what evidence you’ll need and how to apply.
Apply for the determination in the PEP or your third-party software. See our task card on applying for a determination in the PEP.
Backdating certificates and determinations
If you identify a child at risk but exceptional circumstances prevented you from applying, you can apply for a backdated certificate or determination.
We can only backdate certificates and determinations for up to 13 weeks. We can only backdate in exceptional circumstances.
The Guide to ACCS child wellbeing outlines when we’ll backdate and how to apply.
If you give a certificate or apply for a determination, you must notify an appropriate support agency. This is a requirement under Family Assistance Law.
You must also follow any formal reporting obligations in your state or territory.
The Guide to ACCS child wellbeing has guidance on notifying a support agency.
The Guide to ACCS child wellbeing has more information for providers administering the child wellbeing subsidy.
Use this statutory declaration to support your application if you are unable to gain third-party evidence.
Use this form to request the department’s Secretary to determine if a child meets immunisation requirements.
See the following task cards for help applying: