What 2 July childcare changes mean for families

For busy mum and speech pathologist Ursula, the key to maintaining a work life balance for her family is access to childcare. It’s meant she can work and run their family business while raising her two young children.

Ursula said managing her professional life and family all comes down to using the resources available.

“Spending time at home with my children while they’re young is important, but so is maintaining my career. I want my children, especially my daughter, to see that I can be a great parent and go to work just like their dad,” Ursula said.

“It allows my family to function in a productive way. I am able to work part time and also run our family business – which never stops – knowing my child is looked after, and is engaging with others in a language rich environment.”

“Receiving financial assistance for childcare makes a big decision like returning to work easier, because the burden of childcare fees are reduced.
Two small children sit outside

Changes from 2 July 2018 will affect all families who are currently receiving child care payments. Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy will replace the Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit available to eligible families.

Ursula’s family was one of 1.3 million the Department of Human Services wrote to in April to notify them of the changes and advise what they need to do to continue to receive child care payments from July.

Ursula said ensuring her family continues to receive fee assistance so her son can benefit from childcare is important, and the process of updating her details was simple.

“Doing business online is the most convenient option for parents juggling multiple balls,” said Ursula.

“I was able to log into myGov and update my circumstances, it really didn’t take long at all. It’s a much simpler process than the initial childcare claim.”

Precious Cargo Childcare Director, Tegan said the introduction of the new Child Care Subsidy will make the claim process more streamlined for families.

“Consolidating the rebate and benefit into one subsidy will make claiming easier to understand,” said Tegan.

“Parents have been pleased with the simplicity of the transition process, and many have commented on how the change in the annual cap will help their families.”Infographic explaining change to Child Care SubsidyThe department will work out how much Child Care Subsidy you’re entitled to using your family’s income, the hours of activity for you and your partner, the age of your child and the type of child care you use.

The July 2 changes also include changes to the annual cap. Under the Child Care Subsidy many families will no longer have a cap on the amount of subsidised care they are entitled to. Many families with income over $186,958 will still benefit, with the annual cap increasing to $10 190.

Ursula said as a speech pathologist working with children she sees firsthand how valuable childcare is.

“Child interaction plays a significant role in development across all areas, especially speech and language,” Ursula said.

“In my experience, childcare educators are able to flag areas of concern that parents may not be aware of early, helping children get the best start possible.

“By the age of five, children have already undergone 85 per cent of their brain development. This is why a language rich environment that encourages emergent literacy is so important in those early years.

“Children learn by being exposed to real life social interactions where they communicate and express their thoughts, feelings and ideas.”

Precious Cargo Educator Shanae, looks after Ursula’s baby and agrees the first five years are critical.

“We plan and offer practical life experiences which are designed to nurture a child’s holistic development – their sense of curiosity, their independence, creativity and language – all necessary in supporting them to develop,” Shanae said.

“In a short time we have already seen Ursula’s son becoming more confident with exploring new environments, establishing positive relationships with educators and interactions with other children.”

Ursula said she is thankful her family is able to include childcare in their weekly routine.

“My children understand when they have 100 per cent mummy time and when they go to childcare to see their educators and other children. This allows me to be the best mum I can be, while having a career without feeling guilty.”

More Information:

      • For more information on the changes to child care payments visit the Department of Human Services website.
      • If you’ve got questions about upcoming changes to child care payments, join the Live Q&A event on the Family Update Facebook page, Wednesday 6 June from 7pm (AEST).