In Home Care (IHC) is for families who can’t access other approved forms of early childhood education and care. It is typically for families who work unusual hours, live in a remote area or have complex needs. This page outlines the criteria families must meet and the process to apply.
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Families must meet eligibility criteria to access IHC. They must:
- be eligible for Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
- demonstrate that no other approved care type is available or suitable.
They must also meet at least one of the following:
- the parent or carers work non-standard or variable hours outside normal child care hours
- the family is geographically isolated from other approved care types
- the family has complex or challenging needs.
Families must provide evidence to demonstrate they meet the eligibility requirements. Below are examples of documentary evidence for each eligibility criteria.
The family must provide evidence of their CCS eligibility. This could include:
- a screenshot from their Centrelink online account
- a letter from Services Australia
- a statement from an approved child care service.
The evidence must show current CCS eligibility, CCS percentage, activity level, name and CRN of the eligible individual, and the name of the child.
No other care is available
The family must provide evidence that no other approved care is available to them. That is, that there are no vacancies at the times care is required.
Evidence may include written statements, emails or screen shots from services in the area showing:
- unavailability of places
- inability to provide child care at the required time
- waitlist notification
- inability to support child’s complex needs, noting the Inclusion Support Program is available to support children with additional needs.
No other care is suitable
The family must provide evidence that no other approved care is suitable for them. That is, that there are no services that can reasonably meet the needs of the family.
Evidence may include signed or validated documentation by relevant professionals that confirms:
- the nature of why the child is unable to attend other types of approved care, such as due to medical reasons
- any hardship the family would suffer as a result of using the service
- any risk to the health of the family as a result of using the service
- whether using the service would cause detriment to the employment of a parent or carer of the child.
Families should also provide a screen shot of the service location compared to current address. A preference not to travel is not considered under the category of not suitable.
Non-standard or variable work hours
The family must demonstrate that all adult members of the household work non-standard or variable hours when care is required. That is, hours outside standard child care opening hours.
Evidence may include:
- work roster showing days and hours worked and employer details
- letter from employer confirming employment conditions and typical working hours
- contract between employee and employer outlining the non-standard hours or variability of the work required
- calendar extract indicating rostered days and a supporting letter outlining company details
- if self-employed, documentation such as contracts, work schedules or other relevant evidence showing that work must be undertaken outside of standard business hours
- if self-employed, a signed Statutory Declaration outlining business name, address, contact details, ABN, website, nature of work, hours of variability and timeframe of variability of hours may be accepted
- if studying, an enrolment confirmation letter and course timetable showing that classes are outside of standard hours.
The family must demonstrate that they are geographically isolated from other approved child care services. This may be because they live in rural or remote locations.
Evidence may include:
- recent utility bill or rates notice showing parent/carer name and current address
- current drivers licence
- current tenancy agreements showing parent/carer name and current address
- ABS maps and/or an ARIA score indicating family home is in a rural or remote location
- maps of nearest child care service indicating distance from family home.
A significant distance is generally considered to be 30 km or more.
Challenging or complex needs
The family must demonstrate that they have challenging or complex needs within the home.
Challenging or complex needs may include:
- a child with additional needs or disability whose requirements cannot be catered for in another approved setting
- a parent or carer undergoing treatment for a serious illness
- other complex family situations that prevent a family from accessing other care types.
Families that present with challenging or complex needs are assessed on an individual basis due to the unique nature of this criteria.
Supporting evidence may include letters from a relevant treating professional. Relevant treating professionals include:
- qualified medical practitioners
- registered psychologists
- allied health professionals (for example, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, and audiologists)
- social workers
- family counsellors
- registered nurses or nurse practitioners.
Evidence may also include:
- directives from courts and/or authorities that outline the challenges and/or complexities
- letter describing the family’s complex and challenging circumstances and the reasons why other approved child care types are not suitable
- any relevant medical diagnosis, including date of onset, whether the condition is permanent or temporary
- the reasons why other approved child care types are not suitable, noting that research shows children benefit most when they participate in early education and care alongside their peers
- whether the condition is expected to remain unchanged, improve, or deteriorate
- where a parent or carer is immunocompromised, a medical professional must provide a letter advising:
- the severity of the condition
- any limitations on the family’s ability to interact with others outside of the home.
How to apply
The parent or carer must first:
- confirm they meet the above eligibility criteria and obtain evidence of each
- complete and submit the application form to the IHC Support Agency in their state or territory.
The IHC Support Agency will then:
- assess the family’s eligibility
- provide a notice of decision outlining if the family has been found eligible or not
- if the family is found eligible, they will then:
- discuss requirements with the family and create a tailored Family Management Plan
- if care requirements are in scope of IHC, provide a written response to the family offering a place in the program
- connect the family with suitable IHC services.
The family must then:
- choose a service
- ensure their home meets the home safety requirements
- report any changes to their circumstances.
Education and care requirements – out of scope
If the family’s care requirements are out of scope of IHC, a family may be assessed as eligible for IHC but not be offered a place in the program.
Out of scope activities include:
- parental and/or disability support
- allied health services
- respite care
- household chores.
The In Home Care Eligibility Assessment Procedures provides further details about eligibility, evidence and the assessment process.
Families should contact the IHC Support Agency in their state or territory for help with the process.