Support for guardians
What support is provided to guardians?
Guardians receive an allowance, known as a guardianship allowance, to enable them to meet the needs of the child or young person. The guardianship allowance is the same rate as the Department of COmmunities and Justice (DCJ) statutory care allowance.
The guardianship allowance is based on the individual needs of the child or young as outlined in their care or case plan, and on the age of the child or young person. The DCJ Carer allowance 2017-18 factsheet indicates the allowance rates per fortnight.
Guardians may be eligible for support from the Commonwealth Department of Human Services (Centrelink) which deliver a range of Australian Government benefits and concessions to the general community including:
- child care benefit
- child care rebate
- Youth Allowance
- Work Exemption.
Information about the full range of Australian Government assistance, including payment rates and eligibility criteria, is available on the Centrelink website or by contacting Centrelink on 13 61 50. You can also visit a Centrelink Customer Service Centre for more information.
While there may be differences in the care allowance rates between DCJ and out-of-home care agencies, once a guardianship order is made, the guardianship allowance will be paid at the same rate as FACS statutory carer allowance.
Once the guardianship order is made, DCj becomes responsible for managing guardianship allowance payments and annual reviews. More information about financial assistance for guardians, which is similar to financial assistance for foster carers, can be found under the foster care section.
Teenage education payment
Helping teenagers succeed in education and training can be a challenge for all families. For young people in out-of-home care, these years can be especially tough. To help foster, relative and kinship carers, and guardians keep their children engaged in school or training, DCJ has introduced a new payment to help with the costs of education.
The Teenage Education Payment (TEP) recognises the crucial role carers play in encouraging and supporting the young people in their care, and the importance of education and training in securing a positive future. The TEP is an annual amount of $6,000 paid in instalments of $1,500 at the start of each term to eligible carers to help keep 16 and 17 year-olds in education or training.
The Teenage Education Payment Guidelines contains further information about the purpose of TEP, eligibility criteria and how to apply. You can download the Teenage Education Payment (TEP) application form.
The Teenage Education Payment - questions and answers factsheet also answers some of the more common questions you may have.
Annual review report letter
Each year DCJ will send an annual review report letter to guardians that must be completed and returned within 21 days to confirm they are still caring for the child or young person. If the annual review report declaration is not returned to DCJ their guardianship allowance will cease. Guardians must let DCJ know within 21 days if the child or young person leaves their care before they turn 18 years of age. An example would be if the child or young person returns to their birth family or other family members.
The guardianship allowance is provided by DCJ as a contribution to the cost of caring for a child or young person. The Australian Taxation Office has stated that under TD 2006/62 the guardianship allowance, as with the carer allowance, is not taxable income.
Although case management and support is not provided, guardians can still seek help, support and advice from local services including child and family support, family counselling, health services, youth programs, disability and child care services. The local Community Services Centre may be able to help guardians contact these services.
Guardians can get help from a range of local services, including child and family support, family counselling, health services, youth programs and disability and child care services.
Local Community Services Centres may be able to help guardians contact these services.
Guardians may also be eligible for support from the Department of Human Services (Centrelink), which offers a range of benefits and concessions.
What services are not available under guardianship orders?
Guardians are assessed on their ability to independently meet the long-term needs of a child or young person without ongoing assistance and support from DCJ or an out-of-home care agency.
Therefore, guardians are not eligible for:
- ongoing case management and support after the guardianship order has been made
- funding for respite arrangements, costs and services related to family contact and respite support workers.
Additionally, young people under guardianship orders are not eligible for:
- leaving care and after care services
- the Commonwealth transition to independent living program (TILA) payment
What is a guardian?
For more information and support you can contact one of the following: