The Turnbull Government is continuing to reform Australia’s child care system, and today is announcing draft guidelines for a new approach to In Home Care.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said In Home Care “needs a re-set” to stop services abusing the system and squeezing out families who need this type of flexible care.
“What we’ve seen is taxpayers being exploited with fees for some services ranging between $15 an hour and $108 an hour,” Minister Birmingham said.
“In Home Care is and has always been a capped program so the exploitation of taxpayers means it’s pivotal we optimise the system so that families who really need these services can get them. This is about ensuring families can access the type of child care that best suits their needs.”
Key proposed changes include:
- The hourly rate of subsidy will be capped at the current family average of $25. As with the Turnbull Government’s broader child care package, an Additional Child Care Subsidy rate of 120 per cent will apply for eligible families in vulnerable or disadvantaged circumstances, taking the family hourly rate cap to $30
- IHC will follow the same guidelines as the broader child care package, including the Turnbull Government’s activity test and income thresholds as well as exemptions available through the Additional Child Care Subsidy
- Continuing the number of eligible places at the current usage level of 3,000 places
“Our proposed changes to In Home Care will ensure the child care needs of more families can be met where other options aren’t available or appropriate,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Most importantly, the program will improve consistency in service delivery and provide more equitable distribution of places for child care delivered in the family home. The program will be targeted at those families that need this care the most, with a focus on quality early childhood education and care to be provided by qualified educators.”
The revised In Home Care program will be delivered through a brokerage model of support agencies that will advocate for families, particularly those with complex and challenging circumstances, and help them find care that meets their needs. Support agencies will work with families to regularly review their continued need for In Home Care and, where appropriate, help them find suitable alternatives.
“The Turnbull Government will support families currently receiving In Home Care as they transition to the new care type or other suitable care arrangements,” Minister Birmingham said.
The new arrangements will reset the current In Home Care program, and replace the Nanny Pilot Programme, with IHC Support Agencies to service each state and territory to distribute places to Child Care Subsidy approved services.
Draft In Home Care National Guidelines are available on the Department of Education and Training’s website www.education.gov.au/in-home-care and will be open for feedback until 5 January 2018. If families have any questions about the new approach to In Home Care they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new In Home Care arrangements will commence on 2 July 2018.