Grandparents and other informal carers can be paid for babysitting through the Registered Care Provider scheme.
This little-known scheme may help working carers who care for children with high support needs but do not necessarily qualify for the Child Care Rebate.
It also means that you can get a little bit of help with care inside your own home, if that is more convenient for you.
This is how it works. If you want to claim the subsidy, your child care provider must be registered.
If you want your grandparents or another family friend to become a registered carer, they need to apply to the Department of Human Services (see link to the application form below). Carers must be over 18 (or have a suitable qualification if younger), a tax file number and a working with children check.
They also need to issue valid receipts for the hours of childcare they provide.
Armed with these receipts, families can claim child care benefits of 69.6c an hour up to a weekly maximum of 50 hours, or $34.80, for each pre-school child and 85 per cent of that rate for school-aged children.
Admittedly this is a small amount compared with the hourly rates charged by formal childcare services, but over a year it is worth the effort of registering, as for the full 50 hours of care per week you could claim $1,800 annually.
Individuals eligible to apply can include relatives, friends, neighbours or nannies, who care for one or more children on a regular basis. It can also include individuals providing care in some organisations that aren't able to offer Child Care Benefit for approved care, such as:
- some outside school hours’ services, including before and after school care, vacation care and holiday programs – for example, sporting and artistic camps, and some occasional care centres.
- Note that Child Care Rebate isn't paid for any care provided by registered carers.
The registered care payment is set to be abolished in July 2018 as part of the government's Jobs for Families Childcare Package. It will be replaced with the Additional Child Care Subsidy. Under the changes, only grandparents who are principal carers can claim the subsidy. (see below).
To get more information on the Registered Care Provider scheme:
To register as a carer for the Registered Care Provider scheme:
Jobs for Families Childcare Package
The Jobs for Families Childcare Package will provide targeted additional fee assistance through a new Child Care Safety Net for disadvantaged and vulnerable families.
Parts of the Child Care Safety Net are being progressively rolled out (this began in July 2016) and will help vulnerable families and children to address barriers in accessing child care, while encouraging parents to enter and return to the workforce.
The Child Care Safety Net includes the following components:
- Additional Child Care Subsidy
- Community Child Care Fund
- Inclusion Support Program
Additional Child Care Subsidy – from July 2018
The Additional Child Care Subsidy is a top-up payment in addition to the Child Care Subsidy. The government recognises that extra support is needed for:
- children at risk of serious abuse or neglect
- families experiencing temporary financial hardship
- grandparents on income support who are the primary carer of their grandchildren
- parents transitioning to work from income support
- low income families who do not meet the activity test.
Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) – from July 2018
Under the CCCF, child care services (including former Budget Based Funded services) will be able to apply for supplementary funding through a grants program to:
- reduce the barriers in accessing child care, in particular for disadvantaged or vulnerable families and communities
- provide sustainability support for child care services experiencing viability issues
- provide capital support to increase the supply of child care places in areas of high unmet demand.
To get information on the Jobs for Families Childcare Package: