Placing young children in child care, such as an early learning centre, can prove to be costly for parents who are struggling financially. The cost of child care can prove daunting if the family budget simply doesn’t allow for it but there is an option for all parents.
The Australian Government has a support scheme in place called the Child Care Subsidy and we’ll be having a closer look at the scheme and who is eligible in this article.
What Is the Child Care Subsidy?
The Child Care Subsidy, also abbreviated as CSS, is a Federal Government support scheme designed to make child care affordable to all Aussie parents of children aged 13 or younger, with a higher CSS available for the care of children who are aged 5 or younger. While there are other assistance schemes out there, CSS is the main child care financial support scheme available to parents. CSS also replaced the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate, which ceased on 1 July 2018.
Without access to this government subsidy, many parents of children aged 5 or below may not be able to afford quality child care and early education for their children.
How CCS Works
The application process to access Child Care Subsidy is fairly straightforward and if you are eligible to receive assistance, the financial support will be paid directly to your chosen (eligible) child care facility. The child care centre will then deduct the amount provided by the government from your fees payable to the facility.
The government doesn’t subsidise all of the fees but a portion of them, making child care much more affordable for low-income families and those experiencing financial hardship.
You can apply for the Child Care Subsidy directly on the government’s Services Australia web page.
Who Is Eligible for CCS?
In order to be able to avail of the CCS scheme, you must first be deemed eligible to receive financial assistance for child care.
Firstly, applicants must meet the country’s residency rules. In other words, be an Australian citizen, or be on a permanent visa or a special category visa. Check out the Services Australia page for more information on residency.
The child you are claiming for must be in your care at least 2 nights per fortnight (or 14% of the time at a minimum).
The child care facility you choose must be one approved by the scheme and it must be a centre where you are liable to pay fees for quality child care.
There are also immunisation requirements and these can be clarified on the government’s Services Australia page as well.
To work out how much Child Care Subsidy you will receive, you can determine this on the government website. Alternatively, some child care facilities have handy calculators on their own websites, which parents can use to figure out the total subsidy they will receive.
Are You Eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy?
Along with the standard CCS, there is also another assistance package called Additional Childcare Subsidy (ACCS). This is an extra payment that is paid on top of the standard CCS to eligible applicants.
Some of the criteria to be eligible for this additional funding include:
- Being grandparent carers
- Experiencing temporary financial hardship
- Families who are transitioning back to work
- Caring for a child who is at risk of abuse or harm
Once again, you can obtain further eligibility details on the government website mentioned earlier, or even on the website of an approved child care centre in some instances.
ACCS is a funding scheme that makes child care accessible and affordable for even more Australians. So, if your finances have been severely impacted or reduced, for example, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enrol your child in a quality child care centre. There are options for additional support to cover the cost of the fees involved, as the Federal Government understands how vital child care services are to Aussie parents and carers of young children.
If your family is currently struggling financially and you want your child to attend a child care facility, with the assistance schemes offered by the Federal Government, you will be able to afford quality child care no matter what your circumstances.