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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.

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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.

Types of carer allowances

Fortnightly Caring Allowance

The base payment provided to all approved carers when providing direct care for a child cared for under the Child Protection Act 1999. It is also paid to long‐term guardians who were approved carers for the child prior to being granted long‐term guardianship. It is paid fortnightly in arrears, at different rates depending on the age of the child.

Regional and remote loading

An additional fortnightly payment in locations with higher retail prices, paid at 10 per cent of the fortnightly caring allowance. It is paid to carers residing in the Child Safety Service Centre areas of Cape York South (including Cooktown), Cape York North and Torres Strait Islands (including Weipa and Thursday Island), Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Mt Isa, parts of Roma, and applicable Aboriginal Councils and Indigenous communities.

Dual Payment of Carer Allowances

Provides the carer allowances concurrently to both the primary carer and respite carer for the period of time the child is in respite care, where approved by the CSSC Manager, capped at:

  • 52 days per financial for a child with moderate or high support needs
  • 78 days per financial year for a child with complex or extreme support needs but not exceeding the equivalent of three days per fortnight
  • an additional 20 days per financial year for emergent respite.

Where dual payments are not paid, only the respite carer will receive the allowances.

Establishment Allowance

A one‐off payment provided the first time a child enters out‐of‐home care. It is to assist the carer with establishment costs for ongoing placements of one month or longer. Generally the items purchased remain the property of the child. A child subject to an assessment order or a temporary custody order is not eligible. Payment is automatic for carers who meet the eligibility criteria, and payment is processed with the fortnightly caring allowance.

Start-up/Outfitting Allowance

A one‐off payment for initial set up costs to establish appropriate accommodation and resources for a new placement longer than 5 nights, including respite care placements. May be paid for placements less than 5 nights depending on the child’s need and the individual circumstances of the carer.

High Support Needs Allowance (HSNA)

To assist a carer with the direct care costs of a child assessed as having high support needs and the needs consistently result in costs exceeding the fortnightly caring allowance. The Child Safety Officer will discuss with the carer and the agency support worker at a placement meeting, and will submit an application for the CSSC Manager’s approval. The application will provide evidence of the assessment of the child’s high level of strengths and needs, and describe how the allowance will be used to respond to the child’s strengths and needs. A carer can make an application for the high support needs allowance. The high support needs allowance will be approved for a set period (for example for 6 months) or on an ongoing basis (for a child with ongoing medical or psychological needs). The high support needs allowance does not cover additional mileage or travel costs, medical expenses or costs associated with transition from care, as these can be provided through Child Related Costs.

Complex Support Needs Allowance (CSNA)

To assist a carer meet the direct and additional indirect costs of caring for a child assessed as having complex or extreme support needs, that consistently result in costs exceeding both the fortnightly caring allowance and high support needs allowance, due to there being more costly expenses, a wider range of expenses and/or a greater frequency of expenses. The Child Safety Officer will discuss with the carer and the agency support worker at a placement meeting, and will submit an application for the CSSC Manager's approval. This will

include:

  • the assessed strengths and needs of the child
  • the available support options for the child
  • how and to what extent the child’s needs result in increased costs to the carer
  • the longevity and frequency of the expected additional costs
  • the additional indirect costs.

The complex support needs allowance is paid fortnightly at one of three different rates. It is expected the payment will cover the child’s medical needs, transport, recreation and leisure, skills development, family contact and additional indirect care costs. Find out more about the effect of NDIS on complex support needs allowance.

Carer payment amounts

Carer payments
(as at January 2018*)

Frequency of payment

0 - 5 years

6 - 10 years

11+ years

Fortnightly Caring Allowance

fortnightly

$484.54

$521.92

$567.42

Regional and remote loading

fortnightly

$48.44

$52.22

$56.70

Establishment Allowance

one-off

$521.96

$521.96

$521.96

Start-up/Outfitting Allowance

one-off

$104.41

$104.41

$104.41

High Support Needs Allowance

fortnightly

$170.38

$170.38

$170.38

Complex Support Needs Allowance - Level 1

fortnightly

$220.64

$220.64

$220.64

Complex Support Needs Allowance - Level 2

fortnightly

$441.28

$441.28

$441.28

Complex Support Needs Allowance - Level 3

fortnightly

$661.92

$661.92

$661.92

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

Child related costs

Carers have the right to receive support that will contribute towards ensuring a safe and caring environment in which the needs of the child are met. Child Safety understands that sometimes there may be large or unexpected expenses relating to the child in care.

Child related cost reimbursements may be approved to meet costs arising from a child’s individual needs, over and above the financial support provided through carer allowances and other government payments. Wherever possible, these costs are will be pre‐approved as part of the child’s case planning process. It is important that these costs are approved by the manager of your Child Safety Service Centre before you purchase goods or services.

For more information read:

Other financial support

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

Quick reference guide

Do you want to find out more about financial support for foster and kinship carers?

For more information read:

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated:
25 June 2018
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