The department administers a range of payments to help families meet the costs of raising children. These payments help families with:
- the general costs of raising a child
- costs associated with newborn babies or newly adopted children
- schooling costs
- costs faced in special circumstances.
The department also runs programs to help parents who are planning to return to work or education; and to help grandparents and non‑parent carers who are seeking information about payments and services.
From 2 July 2018, the department administered a new payment, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS).
General costs of raising a child
The payments that help families with the general costs of raising children are:
- Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
- Paid Parental Leave Scheme payments
- CCS and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) payments.
Family Tax Benefit
FTB assists families with the day‑to‑day cost of raising children. It has two parts: FTB Part A, which is paid per child; and FTB Part B, which is paid to the family. Both payments are income tested and the amount each family is paid is based on the family’s individual circumstances.
Paid Parental Leave Scheme
Paid Parental Leave Scheme payments help eligible parents to take time off work to care for a new baby or recently adopted child. There are two payments under the scheme:
- Parental Leave Pay, which is a payment to parents of newborns and newly adopted children
- Dad and Partner Pay, which is a short‑term payment to fathers or partners who are on leave to help care for a new child.
To receive these payments, the applicant must meet an income test, a work test and residency requirements.
Child Care Subsidy
Payments that help parents with the cost of child care are:
- CCS, which is a single, means‑tested subsidy to reduce the out‑of‑pocket cost of child care for families
- ACCS, which gives some families extra help with the cost of approved child care.
The new CCS came into effect from 2 July 2018. It helps families cover the cost of child care and is generally paid directly to the child care provider. It replaces three previous payments:
- Child Care Benefit (CCB), which assisted with child care fees
- Child Care Rebate (CCR), which assisted with out‑of‑pocket expenses for child care
- Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance, which supported eligible parents who were entering or re‑entering the workforce.
Newborns and newly adopted children
Payments that help parents with expenses for newborn or newly adopted children are:
- the Newborn Upfront Payment
- the Newborn Supplement
- Paid Parental Leave Scheme payments.
Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement
The Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement increase the rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A for up to 13 weeks to help with the upfront costs of a newborn child, a child aged under one year who becomes entrusted to a person’s care, or a child placed for adoption. Families cannot receive Parental Leave Pay as well as Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement for the same child.
Stillborn Baby Payment
The Stillborn Baby Payment assists families with the extra costs they face when their child is stillborn. These families do not receive Parental Leave Pay.
Double Orphan Pension
The Double Orphan Pension is available to help with the cost of caring for children when:
- both their parents have died
- one of their parents has died and the other cannot care for them due to special circumstances, or
- they are refugees and their parents cannot care for them.
This payment is not income or assets tested.
The ParentsNext Program helps eligible Parenting Payment recipients with children under six to plan and prepare for future work. ParentsNext providers help parents to identify their education and employment goals, develop pathways to achieve their goals and link them to activities and services in the local community. The department refers eligible people to a ParentsNext provider.
On 2 July 2018, the government expanded ParentsNext nationally, excluding remote areas. As a result, more parents became eligible for support and the number of ParentsNext providers increased.
Since April 2016, the program has helped more than 117,463 parents to work toward their employment goals. Noting that ParentsNext is a pre‑employment program, more than 34,752 parents have been supported to start education.
Grandparent Adviser Program
The Grandparent Adviser Program was established for grandparents and other non‑parent carers who have ongoing caring responsibility for children. Grandparent Advisers understand the unique challenges that grandparents and non‑parent carers face. They give tailored information about payments and services that are available through the federal, state and territory governments and community service providers.
Grandparent Advisers give assistance through the Grandparent Adviser Line and when attending community forums and working with care organisations in each state and territory.
In 2018–19, more than 22,000 calls were answered through the Grandparent Adviser Line FreecallTM phone service.
Supporting No Jab No Pay and Healthy Start for School
From 1 July 2018, the government introduced the Supporting No Jab No Pay and Healthy Start for School measure. The measure is intended to strengthen FTB Part A immunisation and health check requirements.
From 1 July 2018, FTB Part A payments were reduced by up to $28.28 per fortnight (or $737.30 per year) for each child who did not meet immunisation or health check requirements, where applicable.
Parenting Payment is an income support payment for parents or guardians to help with the cost of raising children. To qualify for Parenting Payment, customers must be:
- single and the main carer of at least one child under eight years, or
- partnered and the main carer of at least one child under six years.
Parenting Payment is income tested and assets tested (for both the parent and their partner). The customer must also meet residency requirements and participation requirements where necessary.