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COVID-19 Updates

Welcome to the In Home Care Support Agency VIC & QLD COVID-19 information page.

We understand that this is a difficult time for families and children. We hope the information below answers some of the questions you may have.

If you are an In Home Care service provider, please click here for information.


Latest News

ECEC Relief Package – Updated 8 June 2020

The Australian Government has confirmed the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package will be extended until 12 July 2020.

From 13 July 2020, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) will recommence with the introduction of a number of new measures to support providers and families through this period.

For more information, please visit the Department of Educations, Skills and Employment website.


Questions & Answers

Q: How can I make sure my family Child Care Subsidy continues?

Families who received Child Care Subsidy (CCS) in 2018-19 need to confirm their income for that financial year by 30 June 2020 for their CCS to continue.

Parents and their partners confirm their income with Centrelink by either:

  • lodging their tax returns with the Australian Taxation Office
  • completing an ‘Advise non-lodgement of tax return’ with Centrelink, if they don’t need to lodge a tax return.

If families don’t do this by 30 June 2020, their CCS will stop from 13 July 2020 (the start of the next CCS year). It can’t start again until they have confirmed their income.

It’s important to know, if a family’s CCS stops, they will not be back paid for the period between when it stops and when they confirm their income.

For more information, please visit the Services Australia website.

Q: I recently started using child care. What do I need to do about CCS when free childcare ends?

In response to COVID-19, child care has been made free. This means Centrelink is not currently paying Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

If you were getting CCS before 6 April 2020, you won’t need to do anything for it to start again when the free child care period ends.

If you started using child care after 6 April 2020, we recommend you visit the Services Australia website for more information.

Q: Are in home care services still open during COVID-19?

A:  Yes, the majority of in home care services remain open and continue to provide in home care to families.

There are a small number of in home care services that have ceased care, or reduced their hours. If your family has been affected by this, the In Home Care Support Agency will have contacted you to assess your situation and needs.

Q: Have the eligibility requirements for the in home care program changed?

A: No, the eligibility requirements to receive in home care remain the same. They have not changed.

Our role as a support agency is to consider each family on a case by case basis against the criteria. We understand that other types of care may not be available or suitable for essential workers in the current COVID-19 environment, and we take that into consideration when assessing your application.

Q: What can I do if my service provider has reduced my hours of care?

This is a very difficult time for In Home Care service providers. Due to the changes that have affected the sector, some services have made changes to the hours of care they are able to provide to families.

Services are working hard to apply for the government funding they need to enable them to continue operating. The department is also working hard to process all the applications they are receiving. This process however, does take some time to work through.

If you have experienced a reduction or ceasing of hours of care, you can contact us for a further conversation about your requirements.

Q: Can my child receive schooling during an in home care session?

A: No. There have been no changes to how the in home care program works. Schooling, including distance education, has never been allowed to occur during an in home care session, and this continues to be the case now.

Q: Who is an “essential worker”?

A: As the Prime Minister continues to reiterate, many types of jobs are essential and they should not be defined. Each family that applies for in home care will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Q: Do I still need to be eligible for the childcare subsidy (CCS)?

A: Yes. Even though the childcare subsidy (CCS) has been temporarily suspended between 6 April and 28 June 2020,  families that apply for in home care must still be eligible for CCS.

You can get more information about CCS eligibility by visiting Services Australia (formerly known as Centrelink).

Q: Is my family eligible for care because my children are unable to go to school or access their regular child care arrangements due to COVID-19?

Risk of COVID-19 infection, or an early childhood education and care service or school closing because of COVID-19, is not by itself be a valid reason to access IHC.

However, essential workers may be able to access IHC. If you or your partner are an essential worker, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Q: What can I do if I believe an in home care service is not adhering to the conditions of the Relief Package? (For example – if you believe a service has capacity to provide more care but is electing not to do so, or that a service is not prioritising essential workers in offering that care).

Families (and services) can report concerns about services not adhering with the conditions of the Relief Package to the Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) by phoning 1800 664 231 or by emailing tipoffline@dese.gov.au

Q: Who can help me if I am having a contract issue with a service provider?

We are unable to intervene or become involved in business decisions between families and service providers. However, here are some steps you may consider taking:

  • In the first instance, discuss the issue with the service. In most cases, open communication resolves the issue.
  • If it doesn’t, please contact us. Our role is to match families to suitable services that meet their needs. We can have a discussion with you about your requirements and options.

If you would like to make a formal complaint about the contract issue, you can contact the consumer affairs agency in your state.

Victoria

Queensland


Useful Resources

Supporting Children

The COVID-19 situation can be especially stressful and confusing for children. Here are some useful links to help support children during this situation.

How to talk to your children about coronavirus (COVID-19)

List of resources to help parents and carers support children

Coronavirus and children in Australia

Mental Health

Looking after your own mental health, as well as that of your family, is more important than ever. Here are some resources to help you.

Find the right digital mental health resources for your needs

Coronavirus mental wellbeing support service

How to take some ‘me’ time (and why you should!)

Finances

The coronavirus is having an impact on many family’s financial situations, but there is help and advice available.

Find out about your family payments and child support if you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

Financial resources, planning tips and guides to help you during COVID-19

Information relating to Family Courts Australia and their management of COVID-19

Stay At Home Ideas

With social distancing and self-isolation measures in place, here are some ideas to keep you healthy, hopeful and happy indoors!

Coronavirus tips for self-isolation

Ideas for creative play with children

Some useful ideas for the whole family

Information in Other Languages

Information about COVID-19 is available in a number of languages.

Find information about coronavirus (COVID-19) in your preferred language


From the General Manager:

Dear In Home Care families, services, educators and prospective families,

I would like to tell you what the In Home Care Support Agency VIC & QLD is doing as we respond to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Firstly: we are open. Like many organisations across Australia, our staff have transitioned to working from home. Our hours of operation remain the same. 

Secondly: we are committed. We continue to be here to answer any questions you may have. We are continuing to assess new applications, as well as conducting our quarterly reviews. 

Thirdly: we are here for you. We are in constant contact with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). We are sharing the feedback you give us, directly to them. As always, we are advocating for the rights of in home care families.

The entire team and I are working hard to continue supporting you during this time of uncertainty. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation unfolds.

Paul Sobczak
General Manager, Program & Projects

Contact me: paul@ihc.org.au