A certificate gives a family immediate access to Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) child wellbeing for up to 6 weeks.
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What is a certificate?
If you believe a child is at risk and their family meets the eligibility criteria for ACCS child wellbeing, you may give them immediate access to the subsidy in the Child Care Subsidy System. This is known as issuing a certificate.
The decision to issue a certificate lies with the provider. You must ensure the child and their family is eligible, and you must have a conversation with the family, before issuing a certificate.
You can issue a certificate for up to 6 weeks, per child, every 12 months.
How many weeks you choose will depend on the family’s circumstances and how long you believe the child will be at risk for. Each week of the certificate must include at least one day when the child is at risk.
If a child is still at risk 12 months from when you first issued a certificate, you will need to issue a new certificate for the child in order for ACCS child wellbeing to continue.
A certificate is only valid at the service where it was issued.
Before applying for a determination, you must ensure you have notified a support agency as part of your reporting obligations when issuing the initial certificate. Refer to our reporting obligations page for more information.
You must keep records of observations and evidence that supports your assessment that a child is at risk. You do not need to submit the evidence to us when issuing a certificate, but we may ask to see it for auditing purposes.
How to issue
Complete and issue a certificate via the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software.
See the following task cards for step-by-step guidance:
- How to create a new ACCS child wellbeing certificate in the PEP
- How to make changes to ACCS certificates and determinations in the PEP
You’ll need to provide the following information on the certificate:
- the child’s name
- the child’s customer reference number (CRN)
- the start and end date
- confirmation that you will make, or have made, a referral to an appropriate support agency
You must be careful when issuing a certificate and ensure you select the correct dates. If you make a mistake, you will need to cancel and reissue the certificate which may affect any ACCS payments already made to your service.
Certificates must start on a Monday, even if the child starts care on a different day. The system will automatically default to the nearest Monday if you select another day of the week. Make sure to select the correct Monday under percentage calculation date.
Backdating a certificate
You can backdate all certificates up to 28 days. You do not need additional evidence to do this.
You may request to backdate a certificate up to 13 weeks in the following exceptional circumstances:
- families affected by family or domestic violence
- families experiencing a serious illness, medical condition, mental health issue or hospitalisation that prevents the individual from working or caring for their child
- children on a long-term protection order
- children in formal foster care
- families experiencing homelessness
- families affected by the harmful use of alcohol or drugs.
You can apply for extended backdating via the PEP or your third-party software.
You must have evidence showing at least one of these circumstances applies. This is in addition to the evidence you must hold demonstrating the child is at risk.
If your evidence does not support any of the above exceptional circumstances, the certificate may not be approved for extended backdating and the certificate dates may change as a result.
Cancelling a certificate
If it becomes apparent that the family’s circumstances change and the child stops being at risk for any week during the certificate period, you must cancel the certificate.
You can cancel a certificate within 28 days of its start date in the PEP or your third-party software.
If you need to cancel a certificate after 28 days, you must notify Services Australia through the PEP or your third-party software. You should indicate the date from which the child was no longer at risk and confirm that you have evidence to support this decision.
You may also need to cancel and reissue a certificate if you issue it with incorrect dates. Please be mindful of the following when cancelling and reissuing a certificate:
- A replacement certificate cannot cross over the start or end date of a cancelled certificate. If you need to cover part of the period of a cancelled certificate, you’ll need to issue 2 certificates – one to cover the dates outside the cancelled certificate, and another for the dates inside the cancelled certificate.
- If you need to backdate a replacement certificate by more than 28 days, you must be confident that the family meets exceptional circumstances criteria for extended backdating.
- If you cancel a certificate and a new certificate is not submitted and approved for the same period, we will recover any ACCS child wellbeing already paid.
Example: cancelling and reissuing a certificate
You issue a certificate from 5 June to 17 July. After issuing, you realise the dates are not correct. The correct dates are 22 May to 3 July.
In this scenario, you must cancel the original certificate and issue:
- one certificate from 22 May to 4 June
- a second certificate from 5 June to 3 July.
Services Australia may change or cancel a certificate if they are not satisfied the child was at risk for any week during the certificate period. You will be notified of any review decisions through the PEP or your third-party software.