Affinity activates Child Care Subsidy specialists

With thousands of enrolled families across Australia now able to access the new Child Care Subsidy, Affinity Education Group has employed dedicated Child Care Subsidy specialists, available to Centre Managers and families via its dedicated 1800 CHILD CARE hotline.

Affinity CEO Tim Hickey said the response to the available support had been immediate.

"Our Child Care Subsidy specialists are mainly educators who have spent the past few months researching the new Child Care Package as part of our Family Booking Team. They've been in frequent contact with Centrelink and now they are supporting our Centre Managers,  working one-on-one with families to ensure they know enough about Centrelink's new requirements to receive their full child care subsidy entitlements," he said.

Mr Hickey said Centrelink's new Activity Test is one of the biggest changes for families to understand and utilise.

"Just 30 minutes of additional Approved Activity in a fortnight can double a family's entitlement to subsidised child care, and the definition of Approved Activity is much broader than it used to be," Mr Hickey said.

Under the new Child Care Package, the Approved Activity of the lower income earner is one of three factors determining a family's Child Care Subsidy percentage, and the number of hours of subsidised child care per fortnight they can access.

According to Centrelink's new definitions, Approved Activity includes paid work, paid or unpaid leave, approved education or study, training or volunteering to improve work skills, unpaid work in a family business, actively looking for work, and travel time between child care and the place of Approved Activity. 

Low income families with a combined annual income of $66,958 or less who do not meet and are not exempt from the activity test are entitled to 24 hours of subsided care per fortnight under the Child Care Safety Net.

Families with a combined annual income above $66,958 and less than $351,241 where the lower income earner complete 8-16 hours of Approved Activity each fortnight will now be entitled to 36 hours of subsidised child care per child, per fortnight. 

Between 16.5 and 48 hours of Approved Activity completed by the lower income earner will entitle the family to 72 hours of subsidised child care per child, per fortnight.

And families where the lower income earner is completing at least 48 hours of Approved Activity each fortnight are entitled to up to 100 hours of subsidised child care, per child, per fortnight. These families are also benefitting the most from Affinity's new 10-hour 'Your Care, Your Way' Set Sessions.

According to Mr Hickey, many families enrolled in child care 4-days or 5-days per week transitioned over to these sessions within the first week they were available.