As the financial year comes to a close, the hot topic on Facebook parenting groups is the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) being introduced on July 2. My husband and I are always anxious about any changes to our child care assistance because with two kids in care, the fees sure do eat into the family budget.
In response to the changes, Goodstart Early Learning, the largest early learning provider in Australia and not-for-profit social enterprise, has introduced a flexible new option to reduce parents’ out-of-pocket costs and help us get the most out of the government’s new subsidy.
Goodstart Early Learning allows you to choose from nine-hour, 10-hour or all-day session for your kids. That means you don’t have to pay for hours of care you’re not using, you can select a shorter day and stretch your subsidy.
If you’re still confused about how the new Child Care Subsidy works, you’re not alone. The new subsidy is means tested, which means your entitlements will be based on your combined family income, your fortnightly activities (including work, study and volunteering) as well as the your centre's daily fee.
After completing your online assessment through myGov , you'll receive a letter through your myGov account notifying you of your subsidy percentage, the amount of subsidised hours you are eligible for per fortnight and your annual cap. These details will differ from family to family – some will be entitled to the maximum 100 hours of care per fortnight while others may only be covered for 24 hours per fortnight at varying percentages.
For example, my husband and I both work full-time hours so we’re entitled to 100 hours per fortnight at 42.29 percent with an annual cap of $10,190 per child, whereas a friend of mine is studying an online course part-time and is entitled to 24 hours per fortnight at 85 percent with no annual cap.
At most child care centres, you pay for a full day of care no matter what time you drop your kids off or pick them up. If your centre is open from 7am until 7pm and your kids are in care full-time, you’ll be paying for 120 hours of care per fortnight – above the maximum 100 subsidised hours. At Goodstart you can select nine or 10-hour sessions, meaning you’ll stay within your hourly allocation (just keep an eye on your cap).