We administer payments to assist families with the cost of child care.
Child care payments
We administer the following payments.
Child Care Benefit for approved care
This is an income tested benefit that's 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 child 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 to us within 12 months of the care being provided. Child Care Rebate isn’t payable for registered child care.
Read more about customer eligibility for Child Care Benefit for approved and registered child care.
Child Care Rebate
This rebate covers 50% of a family’s out of pocket expenses for child care fees. It's 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 child care.
Read more about customer eligibility for Child Care Rebate.
Special Child Care Benefit
Special Child Care Benefit provides extra assistance with child care fees to assist children at risk of serious abuse or neglect, or where families are experiencing temporary financial hardship.
- a family within your service gets Child Care Benefit as reduced fees and requires a special rate due to hardship or an increased weekly limit of hours due to exceptional circumstances
- you believe a child is at risk of serious abuse or neglect and you are certifying approval of Special Child Care Benefit, or
- you are making a claim to the Special Child Care Assessment Team
Read more about Service Special Child Care Benefit on the Department of Education and Training website.
How to help families claim child care payments
Approved child care
We don't provide advice to approved child care services. 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 child care, and
- Child Care Rebate
Registered child care
Individuals need to apply to, and be approved by, us as registered carers to enable families 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 attracts child care payments is 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 child care and registered child care for Child Care Benefit
It's important to know what type of care you're approved to provide, so you can inform families correctly.
Approved child care
The types of child 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 must apply and be 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. Read about becoming an approved child care service on the Department of Education and Training website.
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.
The Department of Education and Training assists child care services with enquiries relating to:
- approval of services
- the Child Care Management System, and
- payment of Child Care Benefit.
Registered child care
Individuals providing child care can become registered carers. This allows families to claim Child Care Benefit for registered care. These individuals can include:
- nannies, and
- 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 programs, and
- some occasional care centres
Individuals aren't eligible to be registered carers if they provide care within a child care service which offers Child Care Benefit approved child 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 Department of Education and Training provides information about national child care and educational policies and programs. Their website has links to useful information and contacts for parents and educators.
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority provides information for child care educators and providers and includes links to regulatory authorities in your state or 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.