DESE gives updated advice for childcare enrolments in Greater Sydney
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has updated advice in relation to how early childhood education and care (ECEC) services should handle childcare enrolments in relation to the 14-week period.
Under Family Assistance Law, enrolments automatically end when a child does not physically attend care for 14 weeks, an issue which is likely to become more prevalent as extended lockdowns impact providers and services in Greater Sydney.
To ensure enrolments remain active during the extended lockdown, on Monday 13 September 2021, Services Australia recorded a one-off $0 session of care for enrolled children at childcare services in Greater Sydney, “resetting” the start of the 14-week period to begin from 13 September 2021.
This means that where children have not attended care since 7 June 2021, their enrolments will not cease. The session will now show in systems as “COVID-19 System Update” and will have no impact on a family’s Child Care Subsidy (CCS) payments.
“When you vary a session report for the week starting Monday 13 September (noting many of you will), you must re-enter the $0 session of care in that report unless you are recording actual attendances for that child in that week,” the Department advised.
“If you vary the session report and do not replace the $0 session of care where a child did not attend, their enrolment will cease 14 weeks after their last attendance.”
For children who are being unenrolled from care, further advice will be provided to services by the Department in coming weeks.
What ECEC services need to do
Services Australia will apply the $0 session of care at the child’s usual service from 12:01am to 12:30am on 13 September 2021.
- If the childcare service is in Greater Sydney, please confirm the $0 session is there after this time. If not, please follow the instructions below to add it.
- Make sure you don’t vary the session report for the week commencing 13 September unless you need to record absences or attendances in this week.
- If you need to submit sessions in the same week as the $0 session has been entered by Services Australia, please ensure your session reports include the $0 session (for 13 September 12:01am to 12:30am).
How to add the $0 session of care
- Services will need to re-enter the $0 session of care in the session report for 13 September 2021 and enter the time as 12:01am to 12:30am. In the session description, state “COVID-19 service update”, to distinguish this from the original Services Australia entry.
- Services can only do this if Services Australia have submitted an initial session report with the 13 September 2021 $0 session of care for the enrolment. This activity will be monitored through compliance checks.
Which services will get the $0 sessions?
Services in the following Greater Sydney Local Government Areas will have the $0 session applied on 13 September 2021 in the circumstances outlined above.
Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Central Coast, Parramatta, Shellharbour, City of Sydney, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly, Wollongong, and Woollahra.
For further information please see here.