In Home Care (IHC) is an approved child care service type under the Australian Government’s revised In Home Care child care package commencing 2 July 2018. It was through the “greater flexibility and choice in childcare” element of the Australian governments Stronger Families and Community Strategy, announced by the Prime Minister in April 2000, which included making in-home childcare available to families in special circumstances.
Funded by the Australian government since it’s inception In-home care is a flexible form of child care where the care is provided in the child’s home by an approved educator. To ensure quality outcomes for children the care is monitored and supported by an approved agency (Service Provider).
The revised IHC program is a capped program of up to 3,200 places (from 1 January 2019), providing up to 100 hours of subsidised care per child per fortnight with an hourly rate cap of $32.58 per family, subject to Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) eligibility criteria.
The revised 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.
IHC Services are required to provide subsidised sessions of care only for children in families eligible for the CCS which can demonstrate that the other types of approved child care are not suitable or available and where one or more of the following 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, particularly in rural or remote locations
- the family has challenging or complex needs, including where families are experiencing challenging situations, and other approved child care services are not able to meet the needs of the child or the family.
Families accessing IHC due to challenging or complex needs may have circumstances which 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.
In Home Care services must comply with any applicable State and Territory regulations and licensing requirements when providing care to children.
The department has contracted IHC Support Agencies to service each state and territory. IHC Support Agencies provide recommendations to the department on the allocation of places. Taking these recommendations into account, the department allocates places to services for families who meet the criteria for the IHC service type, with the focus being on an equitable distribution.
IHC Support Agencies will match families to educators/services able to meet their needs and refer families to other support services as required. The IHC Support Agencies will be the primary conduit between families and services, and will advocate for families. They will monitor care delivery by IHC Services to ensure service offerings remain focussed primarily on education and care, and fee-charging practices are appropriate.
IHC Services will be responsible for engaging, managing, and supporting suitably qualified educators, including ensuring workplace health and safety for educators.
As each In Home Care service is allocated a limited number of places, they must also ensure that they do not provide care in excess of their allocation. This means that an In Home Care service may not always be able to meet the needs of all eligible children. It was through the “greater flexibility and choice in childcare” element of the Australian governments Stronger Families and Community Strategy, announced by the Prime Minister in April 2000, which included making in-home childcare available to families in special circumstances.
To ensure quality outcomes for children the care is monitored and supported by an approved agency (Service Provider).