2.3.2 Approval of an ACO
This section covers the policy relating to the approval of care organisations to be eligible for FTB.
How to apply for ACO status
Applications from care organisations for ACO (1.1.A.80) status must be made in writing and must include the following information:
- details about the organisation such as the body conducting it (see example),
- a copy of the organisation's latest financial statement, unless the organisation is funded by the Commonwealth, a state or territory,
- the number of children resident at the date of application and the total number that can be accommodated,
- full details of the payments received by the organisation for each child's maintenance,
- details of children who are receiving a pension, allowance or benefit in their own right,
- for children not born in Australia (1.1.A.120), whether they:
- have been resident in Australia during the 12 months immediately before the application, or
- are likely to remain here permanently, and
- the date that the organisation admitted its first resident.
Example: The body's aims and objectives, the categories of children catered for, and the type of programs or training it provides.
Approval of care organisations
An application from a care organisation for payment of FTB can be approved if:
- the organisation provides or co-ordinates residential care services to young people in Australia, and
- the organisation's financial statements support this assessment.
Act reference: FAAct section 20(1) Approval of organisations providing residential care services to young people
Assessment of financial statements
An organisation funded by a state government can readily be accepted as suitable for FTB purposes.
If an organisation seems to be operating on an unsound or a questionable financial basis, Centrelink will request further details.
Adoption & foster care agencies
Organisations such as foster care agencies that arrange pre-adoptive foster care may be accepted as ACOs. While the child is in the physical care of a foster parent, they may be considered to remain a 'resident' of the organisation in the sense that the foster care agency retains responsibility for the child. However each case must be considered individually. If a foster carer claims FTB for a child and is responsible for the daily care and welfare of the child, the foster carer may be eligible for FTB instead of the ACO.
Withdrawal of approval
A delegate may decide to withdraw approval from an ACO and advise the organisation accordingly. Reasons for withdrawing approval may include:
- the ACO indicates it wants to relinquish its status, or
- no FTB payments have been made for 12 months.
Act reference: FAAct section 20(2) Revocation