After you submit your Child Care Subsidy (CCS) approval application, it will undergo a rigorous assessment process. This page outlines what you need to know while you wait for an assessment decision and what to do when you receive a decision.
On this page:
Your application enters a queue
After you submit your application, it is queued for processing.
Assessment does not commence automatically. We receive a high volume of applications and assessment times vary depending on the circumstances of the application.
We’ll check your application
When we reach your application, we’ll do a completeness check. We’ll make sure you’ve included all the mandatory information.
We’ll send you an email if we need more information. We’ll use the email address you gave us in your application.
Please check your email regularly. We can’t assess your application until you provide us with everything we need.
If you don’t provide the missing information when we request it, your application will be rejected. You’ll need to apply again.
We’ll assess your application
Once we have confirmed your application is complete, we’ll begin a rigorous assessment process.
We may ask you for clarification or additional evidence throughout this process. We’ll send you an email if we need more information.
As part of our assessment, we check that a provider and its key personnel can demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to Family Assistance Law. An online written assessment may be used where an applicant has not sufficiently demonstrated this in their application. Where appropriate we'll invite the relevant personnel to take part.
Operating while you await an outcome
Approval is not automatic. It can only be granted after we carefully assess your application.
Submitting your application as early as possible allows time for assessment but you should not assume that your application will be finalised before your proposed service start date.
It’s up to you whether to operate before you know the outcome of your application. Please understand the business and financial risks if you choose to operate before you’re approved:
- If we approve your application, we’ll only backdate CCS payments to the day you submitted your application, provided that this is on or after the start date of your National Law approval.
- If we refuse your application, we won’t make any CCS payments.
- If we refuse or cancel your application because you don’t meet fit and proper requirements, you must wait 18 months before reapplying. This is known as the application exclusion period.
We strongly recommend that you do not charge fees based on estimated CCS entitlements before you know the outcome of your application. You should also advise families that your service is not yet CCS approved.
We’ll notify you of our decision
We’ll send you an email with our decision when the assessment is complete.
If approved, we’ll send you an Approval Notice. It will include information to help you get started. Importantly, it will contain your CCS provider ID. You’ll need this to set up your software.
If you’re not approved, we’ll send you a Refusal Notice outlining the reasons for the decision. It will also explain how to request a review if you do not agree with the decision.
If you’re approved
Once approved, there are important steps you’ll need to take so you can start administering CCS.
If you are granted CCS approval, you must provide care within 3 months of being approved. Additionally, if you do not provide care for a period of 3 months at any time while approved, your approval will be cancelled.
For advice about time limits on National Law approval, contact your state or territory regulatory authority.
Get started in the Child Care Subsidy System
The Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS) is the online system we use to administer CCS payments.
There are 2 ways to access the CCSS. You can:
- continue using the PEP, or
- use an approved third-party software.
Most providers use third-party software for the business features they provide, like:
- room management
- vacancy management
View a list of approved third-party software.
If you decide to use a third-party software, you’ll need to link it to the CCSS. For help, see a task card on linking your third-party software to the CCSS.
Check your provider and service details
Check that all your services are linked to your provider record in the CCSS.
Check details such as phone numbers and addresses and update if needed. Some details can only be updated by a person with management or control of the provider (PMC).
You are required by law to keep these details up to date once approved.
Ensure all required people are linked to the provider and service record
You must ensure the following people are linked to the provider and service records in the CCSS:
You will have specified these people in your application. You’ll need their individual PRODA Registration Authority (RA) number to link them in the CCSS.
If using the PEP, see a task card on how to link individuals.
If using third-party software, contact your software provider for help linking individuals.
You are required by law to keep the details of these people up to date once approved.
Establish care arrangements with families
You must enter into an agreement with each family outlining the planned care arrangements for their children. A care arrangement can cover more than one child in a family.
Care arrangements are primarily a matter for you and the family or individual liable to pay fees. You do not typically submit care arrangements to us. However, we may request it in certain circumstances.
There are specific requirements for what each arrangement type must include. Learn about the types of care arrangements and what they must include in the Child Care Provider Handbook. Visit the enrolment process page for further information.
Submit enrolments for each child
Once you’ve agreed on care arrangements, you must submit enrolment notices in the CCSS. You can do this via the PEP or your third-party software.
You must submit an individual enrolment notice for each child at your service, regardless of what care arrangement is in place.
Once you’ve submitted an enrolment notice, the family must confirm the details are correct. Services Australia cannot start paying CCS for the child until the family confirms the enrolment.
For help in the PEP, see the following task cards:
If you use third-party software, contact your software provider for help with enrolments.
Understand your obligations
As an approved provider, you must ensure you, your services, relevant staff and educators comply with the rules under Family Assistance Law.
The Child Care Provider Handbook outlines your legal obligations.
The provider obligations page also has useful information, including a comprehensive list of key responsibilities, tasks and timeframes.
We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations. Compliance action could include:
- putting conditions on your approval
- issuing an infringement
- suspending or cancelling your approval.
The Child Care Subsidy Helpdesk is for providers and services seeking answers.
Call 1300 667 276 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (AEST) or email the helpdesk anytime at email@example.com.
We send a weekly newsletter to the early childhood sector. We also send targeted emails during times of emergency. Our emails contain important information for approved providers and services.
You’ll get our emails if your contact details are listed in the CCSS. You can update these details via the PEP or your third-party software. Alternatively, anyone can subscribe to our newsletter.
The Australian Child Care Providers and Services Facebook Group is a place for providers and services to get information about the department’s early childhood policies and programs.
Let us know if you’re opening, closing or relocating a service