Support for foster carers and other non-parent carers

We support foster carers, grandparents, kinship carers and informal carers who provide ongoing care for a child.

Payments and services to help non-parent carers

There is help available if you're not the parent of the child you care for.

Non-parent carers who are caring for children and live in the same house as a parent are generally not eligible for payments. If you are in this situation you can contact us to discuss your circumstances.

Child Care Subsidy helps with the cost of approved child care. You may be eligible if you have at least 14% care of the child and are responsible for paying child care fees for the child.

Additional Child Care Subsidy gives some families extra assistance with the cost of approved child care. You may be able to get an additional subsidy if you're any of the following:

  • a grandparent or great grandparent, getting an income support payment
  • transitioning from certain income support payments to work
  • in temporary financial hardship.

You may also get Additional Child Care Subsidy if you’re caring for a child who is vulnerable or at risk of harm, abuse or neglect. Your child care service should apply for the Child Wellbeing subsidy on your behalf.

Family Tax Benefit helps with the costs of raising or caring for children. You may be eligible if you’re the carer of a child including formal and informal foster children and grandchildren.

Double Orphan Pension helps with the costs of caring for children who experience any of the following:

  • their parents have both died
  • one parent has died and the other is in a psychiatric institution or nursing home for an indefinite time, in prison for at least 10 years or their whereabouts are unknown
  • they're a refugee and both parents are living outside Australia or their whereabouts are unknown.

Foster Child Health Care Card helps you get cheaper medicines and some entitlements for children in your care. You don’t need to be a formal foster carer to be eligible. You could be eligible if you care for a child who is not your biological or adopted child.

Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme helps carers of school aged students if they either:

  • live in an isolated area
  • can’t go to an appropriate state school daily because they have disability or special health needs.

Grandparent, Foster and Kinship Carer Advisers help non-parent carers who provide ongoing care for children. Our Advisers give tailored help if you’re a non-parent carer such as:

  • grandparent carers
  • foster carers
  • kinship carers
  • informal carers.

Payments and services when you’re a carer for a child with disability

We have payments to help non-parent carers who provide care to a child who has disability or a medical condition. You can find out more about getting a payment if you're a carer or support if you’re caring for someone.

You can also get the latest updates from us about services and topics you’re interested in. To get our news updates you’ll need to subscribe.

What is needed to make a claim

When you claim a payment, we’ll ask you for certain documents or information. You need to provide these before you can submit your claim. This may include the following:

  • personal details such as TFN for you and your partner, family income details, residence details, bank account details.
  • child details including name and date of birth.
  • proof of the birth or adoption, if not already established with us.
  • details of the previous carer if you know them.
  • details about the child’s care arrangements.

Provide evidence of your care

We may ask for evidence to show the child is in your care.

Evidence of formal care arrangements

Evidence of a formal care arrangement can include any of the following:

  • a Family Law Order
  • a Parenting Plan or order
  • a Custody Order
  • a Foster Care placement.

Documentation from foster care agencies or state welfare authorities should be dated on the letterhead, and include all of the following:

  • child's full name
  • child’s date of birth
  • carer's name and address
  • date the placement or care commenced
  • if the order is ongoing or temporary.

If the order is temporary, you’ll also need to include the date the child is expected to leave your care.

Evidence to support an informal care arrangement

Evidence to support an informal care arrangement may include:

  • playgroup, day care, kindergarten, preschool or school enrolment listing the emergency contact or who registered the child
  • proof of attendance or membership of organisations or activities indicating your caring responsibilities
  • receipts for expenses incurred while in your care
  • proof of travel arrangements such as airline bookings or passports showing travel dates
  • social worker reports
  • records from other government departments which may confirm patterns of care
  • a diary or calendar showing when you care for the child.

You can also provide other evidence to support your informal care. This could include statements from professional members of the community. A statement should be on their letterhead where possible. Professional members of the community could be someone who has regular contact with your family, such as:

  • teachers
  • police
  • ministers of religion
  • accountants
  • lawyers
  • pharmacists
  • doctors.

Statements made by other people can include voice recordings, text messages and social media posts. You can’t give us any verbal or written statements from anyone under 18.

Medicare services

A Medicare Card helps you with some health expenses, like free doctor visits at health clinics.

There are other Medicare services available if you're not the parent of the child you care for.

Australian Childhood Immunisation Register is a national register that records vaccinations given to children.

Child Dental Benefits Schedule provides access to benefits for basic dental services for children.

Medicare Safety Net helps with the costs of out of hospital medical services that attract a Medicare benefit.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net can reduce the cost of prescription medicines once the threshold has been reached.

Child support for non-parent carers

If you care for a child and aren’t the parent, you may get child support from both parents. Read about applying for child support as a non-parent carer.

Any child support you receive may affect how much Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A you get. Read about Child support and your Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Other government and community support services

There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information you may find helpful. You can use Payment and Service Finder to locate assistance in your local area.

Page last updated: 16 February 2024.
QC 21936