In Home Care review

The department has commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to review the In Home Care (IHC) program.

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The IHC program was established in 2018. The program’s objective is to provide flexible early childhood education and care (ECEC) that supports families’ workforce participation and ECEC requirements.

About the program

The IHC program provides access to government subsidised ECEC in the family home. It is targeted to help parents or carers who can’t access mainstream options. Families who benefit from IHC include those who:

  • work non-standard hours
  • are geographically isolated
  • have challenging and complex needs.

About the review

The IHC program has run for five years. Since its introduction, the program has undergone changes, including:

  • introduction of a brokerage model
  • refined eligibility criteria
  • renewed focus on ECEC.

An evaluation in 2022 found the program was operating as intended. It noted workforce, affordability for families, and service viability as ongoing challenges.

The evaluation report can be read on the Australian Institute of Family studies website.

It is timely to review the program and policy settings so:

  • the program continues to deliver the best possible outcomes for children and their families
  • IHC services remain viable.

This review will examine the access to, affordability of, and quality of IHC services. It will provide evidence-based findings to inform consideration of accessibility, future investment and policy settings.

Terms of reference

The review will provide evidence-based findings to inform future accessibility, investment and policy settings. Future policy settings should:

  • be consistent with government objectives
  • explore enhancing existing ECEC programs and care types to provide flexible care to families
  • provide evidence-based findings to inform consideration of accessibility, future investment and policy settings.

The review will:

  • Recommend options that can deliver accessible, high quality and affordable IHC services, giving consideration for the efficiency and effectiveness of government investment.
  • Consider previous reviews and evaluations.
  • Examine international models that support accessibility and families’ workforce participation and ECEC requirements, particularly where ECEC at mainstream service types is not available or suitable.
  • Explore alternative policy settings, including to reduce integrity risks and administrative complexity.
  • Examine the Family Day Care service type and options to encourage increased flexibility and support for families working non-standard hours.
  • Recommend an IHC delivery model for improving accessibility, flexibility and affordability, with a clear framework of operation.
  • Recommend other actions to improve monitoring of quality and safety for unregulated services.
  • Recommend other actions to support the IHC sector (for example, changes to the National Quality Framework, approved learning frameworks, educator qualifications, professional development).

Review process

The review will be completed by mid-2023. Findings will feed into concurrent activities:

PricewaterhouseCoopers will consult with the IHC sector, including relevant peak bodies.

Read the privacy statement for the In Home Care family and services survey.

If you have questions or comments or would like further information, email: