The Child Care Benefit ( CCB) is a means-tested payment to assist parents with the cost of approved and registered child care. The payment of CCB varies depending on family income, the number of children in care, the hours of care and the type of child care used. Low-income families receive the highest rate of CCB.
Table 2: Programme 1.2 Child Care Benefit performance information
Child Care Benefit
|Deliverables||2013—14 estimate||2013—14 actual|
|Number of children using approved child care places||1,436,000||1,476,000|
|Number of families using approved child care services||998,000||991,000|
|Number of families using approved child care services and receiving a child care payment||978,000||986,000|
|(percentage of families who use care and receive a payment)||98%||99.5%|
|Number of families receiving both Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate||686,000||614,000|
|Number of families receiving only Child Care Benefit||89,000||127,000|
|Number of eligible approved services||16,400||17,200|
|Key performance indicator||2013—14 estimate||2013—14 actual|
|Percentage of child care out-of-pocket expenses as a proportion of weekly disposable income after child care subsidies||8 to 12%||8 to 10%|
Note: Child Care Benefit estimates are as published in the 2013–14 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements. Actual Child Care Benefit data for the 2013–14 financial year was not available at the time of publication. These figures are estimates based on the September quarter and unpublished December quarter data for 2013–14. The data is sourced from Department of Education administrative collections.
Child Care Payments Compliance
The Australian Government is investing more than $28.5 billion from 2014 to 2018 in child care and early childhood learning. With such a large investment in child care programmes, the Government needs to be sure these funds are well targeted and make best use of taxpayer funds.
While most approved child care services are providing high quality, accessible and affordable child care to Australian families and are correctly applying the rules under family assistance law, some are not. It is not acceptable for child care services to operate outside the law or to misuse taxpayer funds.
In 2013–14, the department revamped its approach to child care payments compliance to encourage, strengthen and enforce compliance with family assistance law in the child care sector. An important aspect of the new approach has been the introduction of Random Sample Parent Checks to provide improved assurance about the accuracy of child care payment. The department is working collaboratively with the child care and early childhood learning sector to enhance their knowledge of, and adherence to, their obligations under family assistance law.
The department has strengthened its compliance operations by establishing a virtual task force—comprising highly capable and experienced compliance staff from the department’s national and state offices—to better leverage our resources to address child care services at high risk of non-compliance. In addition, the department is building a sophisticated data analytics capability to support this work.
The department has taken compliance action against 19 services, including cancelling or suspending the approval of 10 services during 2013–14. Around $4.5 million of incorrectly paid child care fee assistance or debts has been recovered or action is being taken to recover, and fines totalling more than $234,000 have been imposed. The department closely monitors the effectiveness of its compliance operations and continues to consider new initiatives to strengthen child care payments compliance.