How much does child care cost?
The cost of child care for your family depends on:
- what type of child care you use
- how many days a week you use child care
- how many children you have in care
- whether you can get government assistance with child care costs.
Child care costs can vary across services. For example, costs might depend on whether services:
- charge fees for days children are away
- charge fees and are closed for public holidays
- supply things like meals and nappies.
Finding out about child care costs
If you’re interested in a child care service, it’s best to contact the service directly to ask about fees.
If you can get government assistance, your child care costs could be much lower than the fees you’re quoted.
Types of government assistance with child care costs
Depending on your situation, you might be able to get one or both of these forms of Australian Government assistance with child care costs:
- Child Care Subsidy
- Additional Child Care Subsidy.
Child Care Subsidy
If you’re eligible, the Australian Government pays the Child Care Subsidy directly to your approved child care service to reduce the fees you pay.
Approved child care services
The following types of services are approved by the Australian Government. You must use one of these types of services to get the Child Care Subsidy:
- centre-based day care, including long day care and occasional day care
- family day care
- outside school hours care including vacation care
- in-home care.
The Australian Government pays different maximum hourly rates to these different types of approved services. You also have to meet some extra conditions to get payments for in-home care fees.
Who can get the Child Care Subsidy?
You can get the Child Care Subsidy if you are:
- responsible for paying child care costs for a child for whom you care at least two nights a fortnight, or 14% of the time
- an Australian resident, or your partner is (there are some exemptions).
Your child must be:
- under 14 years old, or aged 14-18 years with disability
- not attending secondary school, unless you can prove your child needs supervision
- immunised or catching up with immunisations (there are some exemptions).
You can get the Child Care Subsidy if you’re a parent, step-parent, foster parent, grandparent or kinship carer.
How much Child Care Subsidy can you get?
The amount of Child Care Subsidy you can get depends on:
- your family’s income
- the type of child care you use
- your child’s age
- the things you and your partner do while your child is in care – for example, how long each of you spends working, looking for work, or studying.
If you’re not sure about what or how much Australian Government assistance with child care costs your family can get, you can call the Department of Human Services on 136 150. You can also use the Centrelink Payment and Service Finder.
Additional Child Care Subsidy
Additional Child Care Subsidy provides extra help with child care costs for some carers who can also get the Child Care Subsidy.
You can get the Additional Child Care Subsidy if you’re a grandparent or great-grandparent with 65% care of your grandchildren. If you’re a step-grandparent or grandparent of adopted children, you’re also eligible. You must also be getting income support like the Age Pension.
Transitioning to work
You can get the Additional Child Care Subsidy if your family income is below a certain amount and you’re also studying, looking for a job, working or training. Under most circumstances, you must have an active job plan. You must also be getting one of these payments:
- Parenting Payment
- Newstart Allowance
- Disability Support Pension
- Youth Allowance
- Carer Payment
- Special Benefit (in certain circumstances)
- Farm Household Allowance
- a means-tested ABSTUDY payment.
Temporary financial hardship
If something happens in your family that makes it harder for you to pay child care fees, you might be able to get the Additional Child Care Subsidy. The sorts of things that make you eligible include losing your job, having your home severely damaged or having to leave your home because of family violence.
Child Care Benefit (CCB), Child Care Rebate (CCR) and Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance stopped on 1 July 2018. If you haven’t yet had payments for care you used before 2 July 2018, you can submit a lump sum claim for CCB. Any CCR you’re entitled to will automatically be paid to you when your CCB claim is assessed. You have until 30 June 2019 to submit your claim.