An overview of in-home care

An overview of in-home care

In-home care is a flexible form of child care which enables families with unusual work, location or care requirements to access approved child care in their own home.

Recent Government initiatives have expanded the availability of in-home care and funding has been increased to enable more families to access the service.
To see how in-home care varies from the other forms of child care currently available to parents have a look at our child care comparison table

In-home care is available to families which are unable to access standard child care services and/or families in unusual circumstances.

Is my family eligible? To be eligible for In Home Care, families must have no access to existing child care services and/or their circumstances mean that an existing child care service cannot meet their needs, families must also meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Families with a parent or parents with a chronic illness or disability
  • Families with a child or children with a chronic illness or disability
  • Families in rural and remote parts of Australia
  • Families where the parent/s work non-standard hours or do shift work
  • Families which have three or more children under school age
  • Families which have three or more children born at the same time

Please note that the Department of Education will also consider applications for in-home care from families with unusual circumstances not covered by the list above.

In-home care providers aim to give children a similar experience to what they would receive in other forms of care. This means your child will have the opportunity to participate in supervised activities they might not be able to do ordinarily such as arts and crafts, games and outdoor play.

How are carers matched with families? Families are matched with carers by an in-home care service provider who organises the placement and then monitors the arrangement on an ongoing basis.

In-home care service providers are responsible for ensuring that the carers registered with them have the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to provide families with a high quality care experience in an environment which is healthy and safe for both the children and the carer.

In-home care is often provided through family day care schemes, however, other child care providers such as long day care centres may also offer in-home care services.

The number of in home care providers is capped across the country and new places only become available when the Government determines an area has unmet demand.

Eligibility is reviewed every six months and it is important to remember when considering this type of care that although you may be eligible and receiving in home care if another family is assessed as having a greater need than yours the care may be withdrawn.

After a stakeholder review process interim standards for In Home Care were introduced in 2008. In Home Care providers are now required to adhere to these standards until such time that they are replaced by National Standards.

How much does in-home care cost? As with all other child care services, the cost of in-home care will vary according to who is providing the service, which state or territory you are in and how often you access the service, so you will need to contact your local provider for exact pricing.

For a general overview of what you can expect to pay for child care check out our article on the cost of child care.

Remember that families who are able to access in-home care are also eligible to receive the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Tax Rebate.

If you are interested in in-home care and think your family might be eligible you should visit the Department of Education website or call 1300 363 079.

They should also be able to advise you how the care arrangement will be managed once you have lodged your application.



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