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Financial support

Financial help is provided to you to meet the real costs of caring for a child or young person. You do not get paid a wage or income to be a foster or kinship carer.

Carer allowances

As a foster or kinship carer you will receive a fortnightly caring allowance. The allowance covers items such as:

  • food, clothing, household provisions
  • gifts, pocket money, entertainment
  • other everyday costs of caring for a child.

The allowance is not an income for providing care. This means that:

  • you do not need to pass on any of the allowance to another person (for example, the child’s parents)
  • you do not need to declare it in your tax return and it will not affect any Commonwealth benefits you may receive
  • it cannot be used as ‘income’ when applying for a bank loan.

Carers who provide short breaks receive the allowance in proportion to the amount of time they provide care for a child or young person.

Carer payments
(as at January 2017*)

Frequency of payment

0 - 5 years

6 - 10 years

11+ years

Fortnightly caring allowance

fortnightly

$477.40

$514.55

$559.02

Regional remote loading (10%)

fortnightly

$47.74

$51.38

$55.86

High support needs allowance

fortnightly

$167.86

$167.86

$167.86

Complex support needs allowance - level 1

fortnightly

$217.42

$217.42

$217.42

Complex support needs allowance - level 2

fortnightly

$434.70

$434.70

$434.70

Complex support needs allowance - level 3

fortnightly

$652.12

$652.12

$652.12

Start-up allowance

one-off

$102.87

$102.87

$102.87

Establishment payment

one-off

$514.25

$514.25

$514.25

* All payments and allowances are indexed in January each year in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

Early childhood education and care initiative

This initiative offers additional financial assistance to foster and kinship carers to cover the cost of early childhood education and care programs. Find out more.

Carer Business Discount Card

Approved foster carers and kinship carers are also eligible to receive the Carer Business Discount Card. This card assists carers in their day-to-day caring duties by providing easy identification to government agencies and hospitals.

The card also provides access to a range of discounts from participating businesses and retail outlets for foster and kinship carers, and children and young people in their care.

Find out more about the Carer Business Discount Card and the discounts available for carers.

Other financial support

In addition to the foster and kinship care allowance, financial support is available at the start of a child or young person's placement with a carer, when costs are likely to be high.

  • A one-off start-up allowance is provided to carers when a child stays in a placement for five consecutive nights or more.
  • Carers also receive a one-off establishment payment when a child or young person moves on to a finalised Child Protection Order.
  • The high/complex support needs allowance may be provided, in addition to the fortnightly caring allowance, for carers caring for children who have been assessed as having high, complex or extreme support needs levels. More information on these allowances is available in the Foster and Kinship Carer Handbook.
  • Assistance may also be available to carers for reimbursement of substantial additional costs when they form part of the case plan for the child or young person in care.

It is important that these costs are approved by the manager of your Child Safety Service Centre before you purchase goods or services.

Foster and kinship carers may also be eligible to receive a range of state and commonwealth government benefits. For more information refer to the Money Matters and Commonwealth Government benefits section in the Foster and Kinship Carer Handbook.

Payment processing changes

We are introducing a new system for processing payments for foster and kinship carers. It will simplify the payment process and improve the information on your remittance (payment) advice notices.

From 19 September 2016, you may notice changes on your payment advice including:

  • More detail about the payments and allowances you receive for the child (or children) in your care.
  • The  new system will use a child’s  legal rather than preferred name. If these are not the same, you will notice that the child’s name has changed.
  • In very rare circumstances, you may notice a difference of 1 or 2 cents in the payment you receive. If the difference is any larger than this and you are concerned, please contact your local child safety service centre.

The new system will not change:

  • your allowances
  • entitlements
  • when you are paid
  • the time it takes for payments to appear in your bank account.

To get more information on the new system contact your local child safety service centre.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated:
25 July 2017
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