Provider obligations

Early childhood education and care providers that administer the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) must comply with Family Assistance Law (FAL). Find information and resources about your legal obligations.

On this page:

In the 2024–25 Budget the Australian Government committed to new measures that build strong and sustainable foundations for future reform of early childhood education and care.

Read our announcement to find out more.

The law

Our strategy

Our Child Care Subsidy financial integrity strategy describes how we monitor, measure, manage and improve compliance by providers who administer CCS. 

Learn more about our Financial Integrity Strategy

Your obligations

Providers have a range of obligations under FAL. We regularly check providers are complying with their obligations and take compliance action when they’re not.

Things you must do

You must be approved

Providers must be approved to operate an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service and administer CCS.

Find out how to become an approved provider 

You must identify all persons with management or control 

A provider is a legal entity. A provider’s legal obligations apply to certain people known as ‘persons with management or control’ or ‘PMCs’. 

Learn more about persons with management or control

You must meet fit and proper requirements

Certain people must be considered by us to be ‘fit and proper’ to handle public money. 

Learn more about fit and proper requirements 

You must have background checks

Certain people must have background checks. Providers must have evidence of these checks. In some cases, providers must report the checks to us. 

Learn more about background checks 

You must have working with children checks 

All educators and some PMCs must have a working with children check. Providers must have evidence of these checks. In some cases, providers must report the checks to us. 

Learn more about working with children checks

You must enrol children properly

Providers must enrol all children correctly so families can get CCS. You must submit enrolment notices on time. 

Learn more about enrolling children 

You must submit session reports 

Providers must submit accurate and complete session reports. You must submit them on time. This is so families get the right amount of CCS. 

Learn more about submitting session reports 

You must collect gap fees

Providers must take all reasonable steps to collect gap fees from families electronically.

Learn more about collecting gap fees

You must give statements of entitlement to families

Providers must issue a fortnightly statement of entitlement to families who get CCS. 

Learn more about statements of entitlement 

You must notify us about certain matters 

Providers must report a range of matters to us, including fees, vacancies, closures and changes to information. 

Learn more about notifications and reporting

You must report financial information, if you are a large provider

Large providers must report financial information to us, including revenue, profits and leasing arrangements. 

Learn more about financial reporting for large providers

You must keep records 

Providers must keep certain records for set timeframes. You must tell us the location of records in certain circumstances. 

Learn more about record keeping

You must respond to notices we send you 

We issue notices if we think you have information, documents or records that will help us administer FAL. 

Learn what to do if you get a section 158 or 67FH notice

Things you must not do 

You must not offer financial inducements 

An inducement is an incentive offered by a provider to secure a child’s enrolment. Providers may offer only certain types of inducements. 

Learn more about offering inducements

You must not accept cash payments

Families must pay the gap fee using electronic funds transfer, or EFT. Exceptions apply in limited circumstances.

Learn more about electronic payment of gap fees 

You must not submit a session report for an educator who did not provide care 

Family Day Care and In Home Care session reports must reflect the educator who actually provided care. 

Learn more about submitting session reports

You must not claim CCS for care that is transport only

CCS is not payable for care that is transport only. This does not include transport that is incidental to a session of care, like taking children on an outing. 

Learn more about CCS and sessions of care 

You must not claim CCS for care provided in child’s own home 

CCS is not payable for care provided in a child’s own home. This excludes In Home Care. 

Learn more about CCS and sessions of care 

You must not claim CCS for care that occurs while a child attends school 

CCS is not payable for care that occurs while a child attends school, including home schooling or distance education. For example, sessions of Outside School Hours Care must not overlap with a child’s school hours. 

Learn more about CCS and sessions of care 

You must not claim CCS for care provided by an educator who does not meet background check requirements

CCS is not payable for care provided by an educator who does not hold, or has not provided the department with, mandatory background checks. 

Learn more about background checks 

Family Day Care providers must not claim CCS for care provided while a child’s parent or carer is present

CCS is not payable for care provided at a Family Day Care service while the child’s parent or carer is present. Parents and carers may be present at other care types. 

Learn more about CCS and sessions of care

In Home Care educators must not claim CCS when caring for immediate or extended family

Providers must not claim CCS when an In Home Care educator cares for immediate or extended family members. 

Learn more about caring for relatives 

Family Day Care educators must not claim CCS when caring for immediate family

Providers must not claim CCS when a Family Day Care educator cares for immediate family members.

Learn more about caring for relatives 

Family Day Care educators must not care for more relatives than non-relatives 

Providers can claim CCS when a Family Day Care educator cares for extended family. But the educator cannot care for more relatives than non-relatives in a CCS fortnight. 

Learn more about caring for relatives

Consequences

We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations. Compliance action could include:

  • putting conditions on your approval
  • issuing an infringement notice
  • issuing a debt
  • suspending or cancelling your approval
  • seeking civil penalty orders against you
  • prosecuting you.

Any actions we take will:

  • be proportionate
  • consider the risk to the integrity of the CCS
  • the severity of the non-compliance
  • your past behaviour or compliance history
  • your response to any earlier non-compliance action

Find out more about infringements

Find out more about suspensions

We publicly name providers who don’t follow the law on our enforcement action register.

Go to the enforcement action register

Resources

Check out a range of information and resources to help you and your staff comply with your obligations.

Keeping the system fair

The department deploys a range of detection methods to identify suspicious claims and behaviours.

Send a tip-off

If you think an ECEC service is doing something illegal or fraudulent, you can tell us anonymously.

Illegal activities include:

  • not complying with reporting and administration obligations
  • not providing care you claimed
  • not providing appropriate staff or conditions
  • operating without proper approval.

Call 1800 664 231 or email tipoffline@education.gov.au

Providing information to the department

You may get a section 158 or 67FH notice if we think you have information, documents or records that will help us administer FAL.

These notices are legal documents requiring you to provide us with information.

Find out what to do if you get a section 158 or 67FH notice

Working with other agencies

We work with other agencies, like the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and law enforcement, to deal with suspected:

  • non-compliance
  • collusion
  • fraud
  • criminal activities.

When we collaborate with these agencies, we:

  • exchange data
  • share intelligence and information
  • engage in joint activities
  • share referrals, tip-offs and compliance outcomes.

We also participate in the ATO’s Government Payments Program. The program ensures service providers getting government payments are meeting their tax and superannuation obligations.

Learn more about the Government Payments Program on the ATO website

Fraud Fusion Taskforce

We are part of the Fraud Fusion Taskforce (FFT). The FFT is a multi-agency partnership working to prevent and detect fraud and criminal activity, including serious and organised crime.

FFT aims to:

  • improve how government agencies work together
  • strengthen and improve government payment systems
  • protect program and payment integrity through skills and knowledge development.

The FFT was established in November 2022. It’s led by Services Australia and the National Disability Insurance Agency and includes, but is not limited to:

Learn more about the Fraud Fusion Taskforce on the Services Australia website

Joint compliance monitoring program

We established the joint compliance monitoring program in 2023 after a successful pilot. Under the program we partner with regulatory authorities in NSW and Victoria to detect and prevent child care fraud and non-compliance. We are looking at ways to expand the program.

Read about the joint compliance monitoring program