Child care service providers

We administer payments to assist families with the cost of child care.

Child care payments

The payments we administer are:

Child Care Benefit for approved care

This is an income tested benefit that is usually paid directly to a Child Care Benefit approved child care service. The service will reduce the child care fees payable for eligible families by the amount of benefit the family is entitled to.

A family must claim this benefit to test their eligibility for Child Care Rebate, even if their income is too high to receive Child Care Benefit.

Child Care Benefit for registered care

This is paid in arrears as a lump sum directly to families who use registered care. It isn’t income tested and is paid at a fixed rate. To be assessed, a family needs to submit a claim and receipts with us within 12 months of the care being provided. Child Care Rebate isn’t payable for registered care.

Read more about customer eligibility for Child Care Benefit for approved and registered care.

Child Care Rebate

This rebate covers 50% of a family’s out of pocket expenses for child care fees. It is capped at an annual limit per child and isn’t income tested. A family will be automatically assessed for this if they claim and are eligible for Child Care Benefit for approved care. Families can choose to have this paid directly to their child care service to reduce their fees, or directly to them. Child Care Rebate isn’t payable for registered care.

Read more about customer eligibility for Child Care Rebate.

How to help families claim child care payments

Approved care

Child care services need to apply to and be approved by the Department of Education and Training to accept child care payments on behalf of families. This will allow families to claim:

  • Child Care Benefit for approved care, and
  • Child Care Rebate

Registered care

Individuals need to apply to, and be approved by, us as registered carers to allow families to be able to claim Child Care Benefit for registered care. Registered carers can include individuals who provide care within an eligible child care service.

Read more about becoming a registered carer.

Approvals to provide care that attract child care payments are separate to any approvals required to provide child care under state or territory legislation or the National Quality Framework. Read more about the National Quality Framework on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority website.

Difference between approved care and registered care for Child Care Benefit

It is important to know what type of care you are approved to provide, so you can inform families correctly.

Approved care

The types of care that attract Child Care Benefit for approved care can include:

  • long day care
  • family day care
  • outside school hours care
  • vacation care
  • occasional care, and
  • in-home care

The services which offer this care are approved by the Department of Education and Training to accept Child Care Benefit, and Child Care Rebate, on behalf of eligible families. Services receive these payments to pass on to families as a fee reduction to reduce the upfront child care fees a family has to pay. To be able to do this, a service must apply and be approved by the Department of Education and Training.

If the child care service doesn’t meet the requirements for Child Care Benefit for approved care, an individual in the service may apply to become a registered carer.

Registered care

Individuals who can be registered carers so families can claim Child Care Benefit for registered care can include:

  • relatives
  • friends
  • neighbours
  • nannies
  • individuals in some child care services such as:
    • private preschools and kindergartens
    • some outside school hours services including before and after school care, vacation care and holiday programmes
    • some occasional care centres

Individuals are not eligible to be registered carers if they provide care within a child care service which offers Child Care Benefit approved care.

To become a registered carer an individual needs to submit a Registered Carer application with us. The application can be backdated up to 12 months if the carer meets the requirements. Read more about becoming a registered carer.

Other government services

There are a range of government organisations that provide information on child care.

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority website which provides information for child care educators and providers and includes links to regulatory authorities in your state and territory.

The mychild website is Australia's online child care portal which provides support for child care providers. It can also assist families to find information on different types of child care, find out how to get assistance with the cost of child care, and locate a service in their area.

Page last updated: 15 February 2016

This information was printed Friday 30 September 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/business/your-business-sector/child-care-service-providers It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.