Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) child wellbeing provides help with the cost of early childhood education and care. It’s for families who care for a child at risk of serious abuse or neglect. This page outlines eligibility criteria, subsidy amount and time limits.
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The child wellbeing subsidy helps 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. We provide more information about what to do in this scenario on our establishing eligibility page.
Eligible families will get up to 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight.
Families will also 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.
In most cases, this will cover the full cost of care.
However, if a child uses more than 100 hours of care per fortnight or you charge fees above the hourly rate cap, the family may have to pay a fee.
Example: when a child uses more than 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight
Natalie is eligible for ACCS child wellbeing for her daughter Alenna. Alenna attends care for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week; or 120 hours per fortnight. ACCS child wellbeing covers 100% of Alenna’s fees, for 100 hours per fortnight. As Alenna attends care for 120 hours per fortnight, Natalie must pay full fees for the remaining 20 hours of care per fortnight.
Example: when a service charges above the hourly rate cap
Flo’s child is considered at risk. Her provider has given her access to ACCS child wellbeing for 6 weeks. The Centre Based Day Care service that Flo’s child attends charges $17 per hour, which is above the 2023–24 hourly rate cap of $13.73. ACCS child wellbeing will cover up to 120% of the hourly rate cap, which is $16.48. Flo must pay a gap fee of $0.52 per hour.
Families may be able to get more subsidised hours and/or an increased subsidy rate in exceptional circumstances.
- are unexpected and well outside of a family’s regular arrangements
- have an out of the ordinary impact on a family
- are generally temporary or time-limited
- do not include where an individual is routinely working longer hours.
Families can apply to Services Australia directly for more subsidised hours. Families should call the Centrelink families line to discuss their circumstances. Services Australia assesses all exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
Providers can email firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of a family to request an increased subsidy rate, or to request more subsidised hours for a child on a provider eligible arrangement.
You can give a family immediate access to ACCS child wellbeing with a certificate for up to 6 weeks, per child, each year.
If you think a family requires continued access to the subsidy after 6 weeks, you can apply for determinations for longer periods.
For most children, you can apply for a determination for up to 13 weeks at a time.
You can apply for a determination of up to 52 weeks at a time if the child is:
- in formal foster care
- in a formal kinship care arrangement
- on a long-term protection order.
Sometimes, you may receive an ACCS child wellbeing payment that you or the family were not entitled to.
If this happens, the amount will become a debt due to the Australian Government. Depending on who was at fault, you or the family must repay the debt.
If you incur the debt because of a false or misleading statement the family gave you, the family must repay the debt.
If you incur a debt because of something you did, such as making a false or misleading statement or failing to comply with Family Assistance Law, then you must repay the debt.
We have more information for providers on our overpayments and debts page. If families have questions about debts, please refer them to Services Australia.