Depending on the child’s individual circumstances, childcare may be an option if it is in the child's best interests. In this context, childcare refers to centre-based day care, occasional care, family day care, before or after school care, and vacation care.
If the child attended childcare before they came into your care, it may be important for this to continue to help them maintain relationships and social networks. Childcare is not, however, appropriate for all children and must be discussed with your case manager.
If childcare is considered suitable, you are required to apply to Centrelink for the Child Care Subsidy to receive financial assistance to help cover the childcare costs. The amount you receive will depend on your circumstances. If you are a grandparent of the child you may also be eligible for Centrelink’s Additional Child Care Subsidy. CYPS or ACT Together may also reimburse a percentage of the out of pocket costs of childcare. See ‘Finance matters’ for more information.
If childcare is something you require, it is important to speak with your case manager to ensure it is appropriate for the child you are caring for. If it is decided childcare is to be used, you should speak with the childcare manager and key staff to explain:
- the child’s care arrangement
- who has authority to see and collect the child
- any learning or medical concerns raised during the child’s therapeutic assessment – the staff may be able to assist the child’s development and work with relevant health professionals assisting the child, such as speech pathologists or physiotherapists
- the child may refer to both their birth and care families.
As the child’s carer, it is your responsibility to be aware of the childcare centre’s policies and procedures and to follow them accordingly – such as costs and what you need to supply each day (for example, meals, nappies, hat).
Just as with any service the child is involved with, it is good to build a relationship with the childcare centre’s staff and share appropriate information that may help them care for the child.