Enrolling children

Children who attend approved early childhood education and care must be enrolled. Providers must enrol children correctly so families can get Child Care Subsidy (CCS) payments.

On this page:

About enrolments

All children who attend approved care must be enrolled, regardless of whether they get CCS. This is a requirement under Family Assistance Law.

Children who get CCS must have the right enrolment in place for payments to be made.

An enrolment links:

  • the child
  • the person claiming CCS (usually a parent or carer), and
  • the service.

If you don’t submit enrolments correctly and on time, you may be breaking the law. We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations.

The enrolment process

Step 1: the family makes a CCS claim

Families must first lodge a CCS claim with Services Australia. Families should do this before their child starts at your service.

If a child starts at your service before the family has lodged a claim, or while their claim is being assessed, you must charge the family full fees.

If the family is assessed as eligible, CCS can be backdated up to 28 days from when the claim was made. Backdated CCS will be paid directly to the family.

Step 2: the provider and the family agree on care arrangements

Before enrolling a child, you must come to an agreement with the family on the care arrangements for the child.

The four types of care arrangements and what they must include are outlined in the table below.

The most common care arrangement for children who get CCS is a Complying Written Arrangement.

Families must agree to the care arrangements in writing. They can do this electronically or in hard copy.

You must keep a record of the agreed arrangements. You don’t need to submit care arrangements to us. However, we may request it in certain circumstances.

Care arrangements can cover more than one child attending the same service. But you must submit a separate enrolment notice for each child at your service.

Care arrangements

Description

Is CCS payable?

Complying Written Arrangement (CWA)

An arrangement to provide care to children in return for fees. In most cases, families must have a CWA in place to get CCS.

A CWA must include:

  • Names and contact details of the provider and person claiming CCS.
  • Name and date of birth of the child.
  • Arrangement start date.
  • Details about how care will be provided, including whether it will be routine sessions, casual care, or a mix of both.
  • If routine care is included, include the usual days and session times.
  • If casual care is included, set out the terms of care (for example, if fees differ from routine sessions).
  • Fee information, which the parties understand and agree may vary. You may reference a fee schedule on your website.

Yes

Relevant Arrangement (RA)

An arrangement to provide care to children who do not get CCS. This could be because the family does not meet the requirements, or they’ve chosen not to claim.

No

Provider Eligible Arrangement (PEA)

An arrangement where a provider can receive CCS and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) payments directly, on behalf of a child at risk. A PEA can only be used when you cannot identify a CCS-eligible parent or carer to receive the subsidy. Learn more about when to use a PEA.

A PEA must include:

  • Name, date of birth and CRN of the child.
  • Enrolment start date (the date the certificate was given).
  • Details about how care will be provided, including whether it will be routine sessions, casual care, or a mix of both.
  • The days and times of any routine sessions of care (if applicable).
  • The usual fees to be charged for any routine sessions of care, or if there are none, a usual casual rate.

Yes – in rare circumstances

Arrangement with an organisation

An arrangement with a third party, such as an employer, where the third party is liable for child care fees.

No

Step 3: the provider submits an enrolment notice

Once you’ve agreed on care arrangements, you must submit an enrolment notice in the Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS) for each child covered by the arrangement.

You must do this within 7 days after the end of the week in which you made the agreement.

Submit via the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software. See our task card for help submitting enrolments in the PEP.

Enrolment notices must identify the person who made the CCS claim. If you don’t identify this person, we cannot make CCS payments.

What you need to include in the enrolment notice depends on the type of care arrangement.

When the care arrangement is a CWA, you must include all the information outlined in the below table.

Only some of this information will apply to the other care arrangements. Once you select the care arrangement, you’ll be automatically prompted to complete the relevant sections.

Category

Details to be provided

Care arrangements

Identify the type of care arrangement.

Identify if a certificate or determination has been made for Additional Child Care Subsidy child wellbeing, if relevant.

Expected pattern of care

Identify the pattern of care expected to take place, as agreed in the care arrangement, from the following:

  • routine care, with possible casual care
  • casual care only
  • routine care only.

Dates

Enter the start date of the care arrangement. You may enter an end date if this is known, but this is not mandatory.

Parties to the arrangement

List the names of the individuals or organisation in the care arrangement. This is usually the person who made the CCS claim, but it can be someone else.

Child Care Subsidy claimant

List the person who made the CCS claim, usually a parent or carer. If you identify the wrong person, we cannot make CCS payments. Include their name, date of birth and Customer Reference Number (CRN).

Child details

Identify the child receiving care. Include their name, date of birth and CRN.

Service details

Identify the service ID of the service providing care. Family Day Care services must also identify the educator who will provide the care.

Session details and liability

If routine care, indicate:

  • the days those sessions will take place
  • start and end times
  • the usual hourly or session fee.

If casual care, indicate the usual hourly or session fee.

Step 4: the family confirms the enrolment

Once you’ve submitted an enrolment notice, the family will be prompted to confirm the enrolment via their Centrelink online account.

If the family confirms the details are correct:

  • you will receive a notification in the CCSS
  • CCS payments can begin.

If the family disputes the details, you will receive a notification in the CCSS and can:

  • agree there was an error and submit an updated enrolment notice
  • maintain the original details are correct and resubmit the enrolment notice.

In both cases, the enrolment will go back to the family for confirmation. CCS payments will not be made until the enrolment is confirmed.

You should contact the family directly to resolve any issues.

Updating enrolments

You must record any changes to care arrangements in writing.

You must update an enrolment notice in the CCSS in the following circumstances:

  • the family disagrees with details of an enrolment and you agree an update is required
  • the care arrangement between you and the family changes
  • you realise the information in an enrolment is incorrect
  • the care arrangement ends.

You must update the enrolment notice within 7 days of the above event occurring.

Update enrolment notices via the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software. See our task card for help updating enrolments in the PEP.

Families will be notified when their enrolment is updated. Generally, families won’t need to confirm the update. However, they can dispute the updated details if they wish. If this occurs, CCS will not be paid until the dispute is resolved.

Ending enrolments

If an enrolment has an end date, you’ll receive a reminder in the CCSS four weeks before the end date.

If care will end on this date, you don’t need to do anything.

If care will continue after this date, you should update the enrolment end date. If you don’t, you will need to re-establish the care arrangement and submit a new enrolment notice.

Enrolments automatically cease if a child does not attend a session of care in 14 consecutive weeks. This is known as the 14-week rule.

If a child attends a session after 14 weeks or more, you will need to re-establish the care arrangement and submit a new enrolment notice.

Special arrangements

Shared care

Families must inform Services Australia and their provider of any changes to their relationship status.

If a child’s parents are separated and both individuals share responsibility for child care fees:

  • both individuals must make their own CCS claim
  • you must establish separate care arrangements and enrolment notices for each individual.

You must do this even if you previously had a care arrangement in place before the separation.

Your session reports must identify the person with whom you have the care arrangement with, and who is responsible for paying fees, for each session of care.

For example, if parent A pays fees on Monday to Wednesday and parent B pays fees on Thursday and Friday, a session of care provided on a Monday would be submitted under parent A’s enrolment and a session of care on Thursday under parent B’s enrolment.

Third party payments

Families who receive CCS make a co-contribution to their fees by paying the gap fee.

If a third party pays all of a family’s fees, you must establish a care arrangement with the organisation. CCS is not payable in this instance.

If a third party pays some or all of a family’s gap fee, you can report all sessions under a CWA as normal. However, you must deduct the third-party contribution from the total session fee. The family’s CCS percentage will then be applied to the reduced session fee, maintaining a gap fee.

Alternatively, you can establish separate care arrangements and enrolment notices with both the family and the third party. In this case, your session reports must identify which party is responsible for each session of care.

There are limited circumstances where a third party can contribute to some or all of a family’s gap fee with no impact on CCS. These are known as prescribed third-party payments.

Learn more about reporting third-party payments.

Online learning

Complete the Understanding enrolments course in Geccko to learn more.

Learn more about Geccko