There are carer allowances and payments to help you provide a safe and comfortable home for the child in your care. Talk to your case worker, case manager, My Forever Family NSW or AbSec about what you might be entitled to.
NSW Government payments
The NSW Government provides payments and allowances to carers. If you are a carer with a non-government agency, you can ask your case manager at the agency about what you are entitled to access.
All carers are entitled to a carer allowance. This helps cover the costs of looking after the children and young people in your care. At the very least you should receive the standard care allowance that matches the age of the children in your care.
There are three different types of care allowance that help cover day-to-day costs of caring for a child or young person:
- Statutory Care – available for each child under 18 in statutory care who lives with you. The amount can vary depending on the child’s age and any special care needs they may have.
- Supported Care – for eligible relative and kinship carers who have children in their care. It is only paid if DCJ determines that the child or young person is ‘in need of care and protection’ and unable to safely remain with their parents.
- Guardianship - for guardians to meet the needs of a child or young person.
The Care Allowance is reviewed annually in most cases to make sure it is appropriate for the child or young person’s circumstances. It’s also reviewed whenever there’s a change in the circumstances or placement.
You can use the Care Allowance to cover the cost of:
- clothing & footwear
- daily travel
- suitable car restraints
- household provisions & costs
- hobbies & activities
- general educational expenses
- general medical expenses
- pocket money
You may need to have receipts for any out-of-pocket expense that is part of a child’s Case Plan. These include:
- health care
- some education services
These help to cover the cost of essential items when a child or young person first comes to live with you. These are not automatic payments, so you should talk to your caseworker or case manager first. If you buy any items for the child or young person in your care, they own them. These items should go with the child or young person if they leave your care, where possible.
Extra financial help
Sometimes the child or young person in your care may need services or items that cost more than the Care Allowance covers. You may be able to get help with these expenses through ‘contingency payments’ and ‘exception supports’. This extra financial help can cover the cost of things such as:
- family contact (family time)
- ongoing dental services
- optical services
- professional therapy
- additional travel
- establishment costs
- maintaining culture and identity.
Before spending any money that you would like to have reimbursed, talk to your caseworker and get approval. The caseworker should include the expense in the child or young person’s approved Case Plan. Keep all the receipts for the approved expense so you can be properly reimbursed.
Birthday and Christmas presents
The cost of buying birthday and Christmas presents for the child or young person is included in the Care Allowance. The amount you spend, type of gifts you buy, and number of presents you give, should be based on what is normally done in your family for children who are close to you.
Teenage Education Payment
The Teenage Education Payment is a payment made to carers and guardians, to help them to keep 16 and 17 year olds in their care in education and training, including apprenticeships. The Teenage Education Payment is $6,000 per year and is available for carers with DCJ or an NGO. To be eligible you must have received the Family Tax Benefit Part A when the young person in your care was 15 years old. Visit the Teenage Education Payment page for more information.
Post care education financial support
This is a payment aimed at helping young people aged from 18 to 25 complete their Higher School Certificate. It provides financial support to their carer to keep supporting the young person in the carer’s home while they complete their HSC. Visit the financial allowances page to find out more.
Care Allowances for children and young people who move interstate
Sometimes carers want or need to move interstate and wish to take the child in their care with them to their new home. DCJ will need to approve the move. If you are a carer with a non-government agency, contact the agency and let them deal directly with DCJ. If the child or young person’s parents do not approve the transfer, the case may go to the Children’s Court.
The continuation of the Care Allowance for carers moving interstate depends on whether parental responsibility is held by the carer, the Minister, or is shared between the two.
Where the parental responsibility lies with or is shared with the Minister, the Care Allowance will continue until the care order is transferred to the other state.
Relative and kinship carers usually hold parental responsibility for the child in their care. If a relative or kinship carer moves interstate, the Care Allowance will continue for three months to cover the transition period. This is the case whether the placement has been arranged through DCJ or through a non-government agency. Any payment after this time is at the discretion of DCJ or the relevant agency.
Sometimes DCJ places children and young people with interstate carers. If you were living interstate or had plans to move interstate at the time the placement was made, then DCJ will pay the Care Allowance until the child in care turns 18 or until the care order is transferred to the other state.
Australian Government payments
The Australian Government offers different payments to families, carers and young people.
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