Things you need to know about child care

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Things you need to know about child care Powered By Docstoc
					Things you need to know
about child care

What help does the                                            How do I claim Child Care
Government provide with the                                   Benefit?
cost of child care?                                           If you already receive Family Tax Benefit, you can claim
                                                              Child Care Benefit for approved child care by calling the
The Australian Government helps families with the cost
                                                              Family Assistance Office or by using our online claim
of child care through:
                                                              services at
• Child Care Benefit
• Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee                 If you do not receive Family Tax Benefit, you need to
   assistance                                                 complete a claim form. You can request a claim form
• the Child Care Rebate.                                      by calling 13 6150 or by visiting your local Family
                                                              Assistance Office located in Medicare offices and
                                                              Centrelink Customer Service Centres.
What is Child Care Benefit?
Child Care Benefit helps with the cost of approved and
registered child care. It is designed to help parents,
                                                              What is approved child care?
foster parents and grandparents balance their work and        Approved care includes outside school hours care, family
family commitments. The amount of Child Care Benefit           day care, vacation care, long day care, in home care,
you receive varies depending on your family’s income,         and some occasional care services. These services are
the number of children in care, the type of care you use      approved by the Australian Government to accept Child
and meeting work test requirements.                           Care Benefit directly from the Family Assistance Office on
                                                              your behalf, so you pay less out of your own pocket. You
From July 2008 , families with income above the upper
                                                              can ask your child care service if they are approved.
income limits will no longer receive the minimum rate
of Child Care Benefit. Rather once a family’s income           A work, training, study test is used to work out the
reaches a certain limit, and depending on the number          number of hours that you can receive Child Care Benefit
of children they place in child care, a family’s Child Care   for. It makes sure child care services are targeted to
Benefit rate reduces on a sliding scale between the            those families who have work-related commitments.
maximum rate and the zero rate.

Families whose income reduces their Child Care Benefit
rate to zero may still be eligible for the Child Care
Rebate. Families who think their income may entitle
them to the zero rate of Child Care Benefit will still need
to claim Child Care Benefit to have their eligibility for
Child Care Rebate assessed.

                                                                                                        FPR030.0907 (page 1 of 3)

         What is registered child care?                                How do I claim JET Child Care
         Registered child care is child care provided by               fee assistance?
         grandparents, relatives, friends or nannies who are
                                                                       You should speak to your Centrelink Customer Service
         registered as carers with the Family Assistance Office.
                                                                       Adviser or employment service provider who can
         In some circumstances it can also include care provided
                                                                       provide you with an application form which details the
         by individuals in private pre-schools, kindergartens and
                                                                       information you need to make a claim. Alternatively, you
         outside school hours care services. Carers or teachers
                                                                       can contact the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150
         in these services must be registered with the Family
                                                                       to claim JET Child Care fee assistance or for further
         Assistance Office.
                                                                       information. A factsheet about JET Child Care fee
         To receive Child Care Benefit for registered care, parents     assistance is available at
         must be involved in work-related activities (including
         training or studying) at some time during the week that
         care is used. You must claim Child Care Benefit for
                                                                       What is the Child Care Rebate?
         Registered Care within 12 months from when the care
         was provided.                                                 If you receive Child Care Benefit for approved child
                                                                       care, you may be eligible to receive the Child Care
         Note: you cannot get the Child Care Rebate for                Rebate. The Child Care Rebate covers a percentage of
         registered care.                                              your out-of-pocket expenses for approved child care,
                                                                       up to a maximum amount per child, per financial year.
                                                                       Out-of-pocket expenses are total child care fees less
         What is JET Child Care fee                                    Child Care Benefit.

         assistance?                                                   From July 2008 (for the 2008–09 financial year onwards),
                                                                       the Child Care Rebate percentage is 50 per cent.
         Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee assistance
         provides extra help with the cost of approved child care      From July 2008 (for the 2008–09 financial year
         to eligible parents undertaking activities such as work,      onwards), Child Care Rebate will be paid to you
         job search, training, study or rehabilitation as part of an   quarterly* after your service has provided details of
         Employment Pathway Plan, to help them enter or re-enter       your child care usage/attendance for the quarter. When
         the workforce.                                                you lodge your tax return/s after the end of the financial
                                                                       year, your Child Care Benefit will be reconciled. Your
         JET Child Care fee assistance can help meet the cost
                                                                       actual Child Care Rebate entitlement will be worked
         of child care by paying the difference between the total
                                                                       out and adjusted for any quarterly payments you have
         child care fee and the amount covered by Child Care
         Benefit—for care related to participation in JET Child
         Care fee assistance approved activities.                      For 2006–07 and 2007–08 financial years, the Child
                                                                       Care Rebate Percentage is 30 per cent.
         JET Child Care fee assistance payments are made
         directly to the child care service on behalf of parents.      For 2006–07 and 2007–08 financial years, Child
         Parents will still make a small contribution towards the      Care Rebate is paid as an annual lump sum payment
         cost of care.                                                 automatically through the Family Assistance Office
                                                                       once your actual Child Care Benefit entitlement has
         If you have an Employment Pathway Plan with Centrelink
                                                                       been worked out. This will occur after the end of the
         as a condition of receiving an income support payment,
                                                                       financial year:
         and you need approved child care to support your
         participation activities, you may be required to accept
         available approved care.

FPR030.0907 (page 2 of 3)
                                                                                                  Centrelink Facts

• when your service has provided details of all child
  care usage for the financial year, and
                                                             What should I look for when
• after you and/or your partner (if you have one) have       choosing a child care service?
  lodged your tax return/s. If you and/or your partner       When choosing quality child care, there are a number
  are not required to lodge a tax return, please notify      of factors to consider. These include the service
  the Family Assistance Office.                               location, hours of operation, availability of places and
The rebate for costs incurred in the 2004–05 and             cost. Equally important is the quality of care provided—
2005–06 financial years is claimed through the                relationships between staff and children, the program,
Australian Taxation Office. For more information visit the    the physical environment and equipment.
Australian Taxation Office website at or       The National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC)
call 13 2861.                                                administers the Australian Government’s Child Care
*If you receive Child Care Benefit as reduced fees            Quality Assurance systems. Child care services must
(even if you are assessed at the zero rate for Child Care    participate in quality assurance to be eligible for Child
Benefit) you can choose to receive your Child Care Rebate     Care Benefit approval and other government funding.
annually rather than quarterly. If you wish to receive the   Services that meet quality standards are accredited by
Child Care Rebate as an annual lump sum payment,             NCAC. Information about the accreditation status of child
contact the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150. If you       care services and questions to ask when looking for care
claim Child Care Benefit as a lump sum payment, Child         is available on the NCAC website or by
Care Rebate will only be paid to you as a lump sum.          calling 1300 136 554. NCAC also handles complaints
                                                             about the quality of child care services.

How do I find an approved                                     Disclaimer
child care service?                                          The information is accurate as at July 2009, but may
The Child Care Access Hotline is a telephone service         of course change. If you use this publication after that
that provides you with information to help you choose a      date, please check with Centrelink that the details are
child care service that meets your needs.                    up to date.

The hotline will provide you with information about child
care services in your area, types of child care available,
vacancies, quality issues and the financial assistance
available to help with the cost of child care.

You can contact the Child Care Access Hotline
on Freecall™ 1800 670 305 (TTY Service
Freecall™ 1800 639 327) between 8.00 am and
9.00 pm (EST) Monday to Friday.

You can also find out information about child care
services and which ones are most likely to have
vacancies in your local area from the Family Assistance
Office or your employment service provider.

                                                                                                          FPR030.0907 (page 3 of 3)

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