Before Child Care Subsidy (CCS) can be applied to a child, they must have an active, confirmed enrolment at an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service.
Getting to the point of a confirmed enrolment is a 4-step process which involves the family (namely the child and the primary carer), and the service (namely the provider).
In this article, we will go through the 4 stages of the enrolment process, who is responsible for completing these stages, and how they can do them.
1. "The individual makes a claim for Child Care Subsidy with Centrelink"
The primary carer (or their partner) must make a claim to CentreLink if they wish to receive CCS. To do this, they need to make the claim through their CentreLink account.
After making a successful claim, the primary carer has 1 year to enrol in a service under this eligibility.
An enrolment can be created before a claim for CCS is made, but CCS cannot be administered until the parent/carer has been deemed eligible to receive CCS. The department can backpay CCS, but only for a period of 28 days.
That is why the department encourages parents to make a claim before enrolling in a service.
For Parents: you MUST make a CCS claim to receive CCS, and update CentreLink when your income/activity changes.
For Providers: you SHOULD charge families full fees until they are eligible to receive CCS, as any backpay is often paid directly to the parent.
2. "The provider and individual agree an arrangement for care of a child"
The agreement between the service and the parent/carer, where the family is claiming CCS, is called a Complying Written Arrangement (CWA). It sets out the details of both parties and the child, the date care will start, days/times sessions of care, fees etc.
When families want their child to attend a service, they'll fill out an enrolment form.
A CWA can be part of the enrolment form or held separately.
For Families: You MUST confirm agreement to the CWA, which can be done in OWNA.
For Providers: Don't finalise a CWA any earlier than 14 weeks before an enrolment is due to start, as the enrolment will be ceased and you'll have to start again.
3. "The provider submits an enrolment notice"
An enrolment notice is essentially the provider notifying the department of the enrolment. It includes information such as the type of arrangement, pattern of care (e.g. casual, routine days etc.), details of both parties and the child, session details etc.
This can be done in OWNA by hitting 'Create New Enrolment to CCS' on the child's profile.
Each child at each service must have a separate enrolment notice, even if the CWA covers several children. It must also be created within seven days from the end of the week after step 2 (e.g. CWA agreed Monday, you have until the FOLLOWING Sunday - 13 days).
For Parents: ensure steps 1 & 2 are done on your end.
For Providers: Lodge the Enrolment Notice by the end of the week after the agreement.
4. "The individual confirms the enrolment"
The parent/carer will be notified on the enrolment notice that gets sent to the department, through CentreLink. In order for the enrolment to be confirmed and CCS to start getting administered, they need to login to MyGov to confirm - or confirm directly with CentreLink.
If the information isn't correct, the parent/carer should indicate this so that the service can rectify on their end. This is all done through CentreLink from the parent's end (unless there is a dispute, in which case both parties need to negotiate with each other).
Once the enrolment is confirmed, the service will be notified - in OWNA this is on the child's profile where it says the enrolment status is confirmed - and CCS will start to be administered.
For Parents: Login to MyGov or contact CentreLink to confirm the enrolment
For Providers: Make sure you rectify any information that isn't correct
Making Sure You've Completed All of the Steps
You can check the status of the enrolment at any time, by looking at the child's profile in OWNA. The statuses are:
Confirmed: Everything is good to go.
Received: The enrolment has been submitted without the parent's CRN.
Pending Eligibility: The parent/carer has not been accepted for CCS yet.
Pending Confirmation: The parent/carer needs to confirm the enrolment.
Disputed: The parent/carer has disputed some of the details in the enrolment notice
Rejected: The parent/carer has rejected the enrolment (i.e. told the department that the child is not enrolled at the service)
Ceased: The enrolment has ended
For more info on the enrolment process, please visit the Department Website.