In Home Care

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The In Home Care (IHC) program is part of the child care package and provides flexible care that supports families’ workforce participation and child care requirements where other options are not available or appropriate.

The IHC program is a capped program of up to 3,200 places, providing up to 100 hours of subsidised care per child per fortnight with a family hourly rate cap, subject to Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy eligibility criteria.

The program provides access to Government subsidised child care in the family home and is targeted to assist parents or carers who are unable to access other mainstream child care options such as those who work non-standard hours, are geographically isolated or have families with challenging and complex needs.

The program is targeted at those families that need this care the most, with a focus on quality early childhood education and care provided by qualified educators.

To better support families, the IHC service type is delivered through a network of IHC Support Agencies that advocate for families, particularly those with complex and challenging circumstances, and help them find care that meets their needs. IHC Support Agencies are the primary conduit between families and services, while providing assurance of the care type and supporting national consistency in program delivery.

IHC Support Agencies should be contacted by families and services to discuss eligibility for IHC and families' care needs.

In Home Care National Guidelines

More information on the legislative and policy framework for the IHC program can be found in the In Home Care National Guidelines.

In Home Care Handbook

Guidance on how the IHC program operates can be found in the In Home Care Handbook.

In Home Care Estimator

The IHC estimator is a tool designed to help families estimate the amount of child care fee assistance they may receive when accessing IHC.

In Home Care Session of Care

Guidance on how the Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy applies to IHC Sessions of Care including the nominated child and an IHC family session can be found on the In Home Care Session of Care page.

In Home Care Templates

The following templates must be used by IHC services for the following purposes:

Frequently asked questions

Overview

What is In Home Care (IHC)?

In Home Care (IHC) is an approved child care service type for Child Care Subsidy under the Australian Government’s child care package. The IHC program is designed to provide a high quality, flexible early childhood education and care option to families in their own home. IHC supports families’ workforce participation and early childhood education and care requirements where other approved child care services are not available or appropriate.

The IHC program provides access to Government subsidised child care in the family home and is targeted to assist parents or carers who are unable to access other mainstream child care options and:

  • work non-standard or variable hours or
  • are geographically isolated or
  • have families with challenging and complex needs.

How is IHC delivered?

IHC is delivered through a network of IHC Support Agencies servicing each state and territory. The role of In Home Care Support Agencies is to assess families’ eligibility for IHC and match them to suitable approved IHC services that have the capacity to provide the required education and care programs.

IHC is delivered to families by approved IHC services, who engage qualified IHC educators to provide education and care in the family home. IHC educators can provide care to a maximum of five children (or four preschool age or under) from the same family. IHC educators provide a tailored, individual education program based on each child’s knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests.

Service delivery is based on a Family Management Plan agreed between the IHC Support Agency and the family.

How do families access the IHC program?

Families who are interested in accessing IHC should make contact with the IHC Support Agency for their state or territory. The IHC Support Agency will assess the family’s eligibility for IHC against the eligibility criteria. Please see the contact details of the IHC Support Agencies.

Can a family choose their IHC service?

Where more than one service is identified by the IHC Support Agency as having the capacity to provide IHC to the family, then the family can make a choice of their preferred IHC service. However, a family seeking to access IHC must always apply through the IHC Support Agency, even if they have a particular IHC service in mind.

Eligiblity Criteria

What is the eligibility criteria for IHC?

Subsidised care under the IHC program must be provided only for children of individuals eligible for the Child Care Subsidy who can demonstrate that other types of approved child care are not available or appropriate and where one or more of the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • parents or carers are working non-standard or variable hours, outside normal child care service hours
  • parents or carers are geographically isolated from other types of approved child care, including because they reside in a rural or remote location
  • the family has challenging or complex needs.

Challenging or complex needs may include one or more of the following:

  • a child with additional needs or a disability whose early childhood education and care requirements cannot be catered for in another approved child care setting, or through other government funded or community-based services
  • a family where a parent is undergoing treatment for a serious illness
  • other complex family situations that prevent families from accessing other approved child care types.

IHC Support Agencies assess families against the IHC eligibility criteria to determine if they are eligible for IHC.

Can IHC be used for the supervision of distance education?

No, families cannot receive Child Care Subsidies during the time a child is engaged in formal schooling, including for the purpose of supervising distance education programs such as School of the Air (on air and off air times). This includes the programs many schools provided to parents/carers to deliver to their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is longstanding policy, as the Commonwealth funds state and territory governments for the delivery of school education. Care provided while a child is completing homework does not constitute formal schooling.

Supervision of distance education programs may be provided in the family home by an IHC educator as a private arrangement between the family and the service, complementary to the provision of subsidised child care. Private arrangements do not attract Child Care Subsidy.

Will I be able to access IHC if my child accesses the National Disability Insurance Scheme?

IHC has a focus on education and care, and may complement disability support received through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). A child with additional needs may receive NDIS support and the family, if they are eligible for the Child Care Subsidy and meet the eligibility criteria for IHC, may also be able to receive IHC.

In Home Care Educator Requirements

What are the educator qualification requirements for the IHC service type?

IHC educators are required to have, as a minimum, a Certificate III in a relevant course or be working towards a relevant qualification and provide documentary evidence. Transitional provisions apply for IHC educators in remote and very remote areas. Further information is detailed in the In Home Care National Guidelines.

Qualifications acceptable for an IHC educator include a Certificate III, a Diploma or a Degree in Early Childhood Education or equivalent qualifications that have a major focus on Early Childhood Education, or ‘actively working towards’ one of these qualifications.

Although IHC is out-of-scope for the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (NQF), the NQF-approved Certificate III, Diploma and Early Childhood Teacher qualifications have been deemed acceptable qualifications for IHC educators, in recognition that families and children should have access to the same, high quality of early childhood development and education and care opportunities, irrespective of the service type.

The qualifications approved under the NQF that are listed by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) on their webpage www.acecqa.gov.au/qualifications/nqf-approved are acceptable qualifications for IHC educators. The list includes early childhood teaching, Diploma and Certificate III level qualifications approved under the NQF, including equivalent overseas qualifications. Services, educators and other individuals must use ACECQA's list of qualifications approved under the NQF to verify if a particular qualification is acceptable for IHC. It is important to note that the qualifications for working with school age children listed on the ACECQA website are not acceptable qualifications for IHC educators.

ACECQA also publishes a list of approved first aid, emergency asthma and anaphylaxis qualifications, which are also acceptable additional requirements for IHC educators. Mirroring the NQF qualification requirements for IHC helps ensure families have access to the same quality of care irrespective of the type of approved child care they receive.

In recognition that IHC educators may care for primary school aged children, the primary school teaching qualifications of educators registered with the state and territory education boards are also deemed as acceptable qualifications for IHC educators.

What are the transitional provisions for IHC educators working in remote and very remote areas?

In recognition of the challenges for educators working in remote and very remote areas to meet the qualification requirement, transitional provisions are in place until 31 December 2021:

  1. An IHC educator providing services in a remote or a very remote area will meet the qualification requirements for IHC educators if the IHC educator has access to, and utilises the expertise of, an educator with at least a Certificate III in early childhood education and care for at least 20 per cent of the time care is provided to a family. This may be by means of information and communications technology (ICT).
  2. If the educator has been continuously employed at an ECEC service located in a remote or very remote area for a period of at least 15 years, then the educator does not need to hold or be actively working towards a Certificate III level education and care qualification.

Are families required to find their own educator?

IHC educators must be engaged by approved IHC services. Arrangements for engaging an IHC educator should be discussed with the relevant IHC service.

There may be instances where a family finds an educator to provide IHC. To be able to access IHC, the educator must be engaged by a CCS approved IHC service and meet the requirements for IHC educators as outlined in the In Home Care National Guidelines and In Home Care Handbook, including the minimum qualification requirements. In such cases, the relevant IHC Support Agency may assist the family by advocating for their early childhood education and care needs with the relevant IHC service(s).