Unlike other types of approved child care (such as Long Day Care and Family Day Care), In Home Care is only available to children in certain circumstances. It is a condition of their approval and continued approval that In Home Care services ensure they only provide care to children in one or more of the following circumstances:
- the child, or any other child with whom the child lives, has an illness or disability
- the individual in whose care the child is, or the individual's partner (if any), has an illness or disability that reduces the individual's, or the partner's capacity to care for the child
- the child lives in a rural or remote area
- work hours of the individual in whose care the child is, or the individual's partner(if any), are (or include) the hours during which no other approved child care service (other than an approved in home care service) operates that could otherwise provide care, or
- the individual in whose care the child is or the individual's partner (if any) is caring for three or more children (including the child) who have not yet commenced school.
In Home Care services must comply with any applicable state and territory regulations and licensing requirements when providing care to children.
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.
Allocation of In Home Care places
For a service to become approved, In Home Care places must be available to allocate to that service. In Home Care is a capped programme and there are a limited number of In Home Care places available for allocation to services.
The most appropriate time for existing or prospective In Home Care services to apply for In Home Care places is when the department conducts an allocation process. When this occurs, existing In Home Care services will be notified and information will be provided on this website.
Utilisation of In Home Care Places
The Child Care Benefit (Allocation of Child Care Places) Determination 2000 (the Allocation Determination) was amended in September 2011 to allow the department to reduce the number of In Home Care places that have been allocated to a service if those places have been unoccupied continuously for six months or more.
Under Section 197 of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999, it is a condition of continued approval that child care services do not exceed the number of In Home Care places allocated to the service by the department. One In Home Care place equals 35 hours of child care per week.
Interim Standards for In Home Care
Following consultations with key stakeholders, interim standards for In Home Care were introduced in 2008. In Home Care providers are required to adhere to these standards until such time that they are replaced by National Standards. Introducing minimum requirements and focusing on enhancements in quality will increase the marketability of In Home Care and improve the quality of care and the safety of educators, families and children.
In Home Care resources
In Home Care providers have a number of obligations under family assistance law that they are required to meet in the provision of In Home Care.
Following consultations with In Home Care providers and key stakeholders, the department has provided suggested templates for the use of In Home Care providers to assist in the compliance with obligations under section 24 of the Child Care Benefit (Eligibility of Child Care Service for Approval and Continued Approval) Determination 2000 (also known as the Eligibility Determination).
- The In Home Care Eligibility Checklist is a template for In Home Care providers to use when assessing eligibility for In Home Care.
- The In Home Care Agreement Template assists In Home Care providers to have an agreement in place with each In Home Care educator and the person liable to pay child care fees.
Engagement in Quality Assurance
Currently, In Home Care services are not covered by the National Quality Framework but adhere to the Interim Standards for In Home Care or any state or territory regulations and licensing requirements.
The aim of the Australian Government's Child Care Quality Assurance is to provide a framework for reviewing, measuring and improving the quality of the work being done by approved child care providers. Quality Assurance focuses on quality outcomes for children and encompasses processes of self-assessment and continuing improvement against areas of quality care.
- improves outcomes for children
- improves the accountability of child care to the public, and
- better equips services to cater for children's individual needs.
To be eligible for and maintain approval for Child Care Benefit purposes, services must register for and satisfactorily participate in quality assurance as set out in their Funding Agreement.