Chapter 5 Outcome 1 - Families and Children
Outcome 1 at a glance
Improved child development, safety and family functioning through support services for all Australians, payments for low and medium income families with children and child support policy.
Outcome and programs
Figure 5.1 shows the Outcome 1 program structure.
Figure 5.1 Outcome 1 programs
- From 1 July 2010, all young people aged 16 to 20 years without a Year 12 or equivalent qualification must study full-time towards one to qualify for the Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB A). This change was designed to encourage young people to complete their secondary education, and to contribute to the Australian Government’s goal of achieving a 90 per cent Year 12 attainment rate by 2015.
- From July 2010, separated families benefited from simpler interactions between the Family Assistance Office and the Child Support Agency about care determinations.
- From October 2010, families can claim family assistance before the birth of a child so that there is less paperwork after the birth.
- From 1 January 2011, under the Paid Parental Leave scheme, eligible working parents of newborn or newly adopted children started to receive Parental Leave Pay for up to 18 weeks at the rate of the national minimum wage.
- From 1 July 2011, the new Family Support Program commenced. The new program reduces the administrative burden on services and allows greater flexibility to tailor services to the needs of families. The new Family Support Program makes an important contribution towards the Government’s social inclusion agenda by incorporating measures to better focus services on helping the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families.
- In the first two years of the implementation of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, significant progress was made. Achievements include the first-ever national standards for out-of-home care, which will provide a nationally consistent benchmark for the care of children and young people who are unable to live with their parents. The national standards are the result of extensive consultation with the state and territory governments, the non-government sector and children and young people who are living in or who have left care, and their carers. The 13 national standards will be introduced from 1 July 2011, along with a schedule of national measurement and reporting arrangements.
- The Department worked in partnership with states and territories and the non‑government sector to progress a staged implementation of the suite of Find and Connect services for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants. Enhanced services are being provided to coordinate family tracing and support services for care leavers to help them locate personal information, reunite with their families where possible and heal from their childhood experiences.
- In response to the recommendations of the Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Child Protection System in the Northern Territory, the Australian Government committed $34 million to introduce an Intensive Family Support Service, child protection income management, additional Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Workers, a second Mobile Child Protection Team and a plan to work with the Northern Territory Government to expand the ID card system to support alcohol restrictions.
Program 1.1: Family Support
The objective of program 1.1 is to increase access to and timely provision of integrated services for families, particularly vulnerable and at‑risk families, to improve child development, safety and family functioning.
Before the start of the new Family Support Program, the program had the following components:
- Family Relationship Services
- Children and Parenting Services.
From 1 July 2011, the Government’s investment in family support services was streamlined from more than 20 family and children’s programs into four new activities. The reforms give services greater flexibility to respond to the needs of families and to better assist vulnerable and disadvantaged families, Indigenous families and those with multiple and complex needs. Around 160 projects previously funded under the Community Investment Program also transferred to the Family Support Program because of their strong focus on supporting families and children.
To assist in implementing the reforms, FaHCSIA held 21 consultations across 18 locations with providers and other stakeholders in the family services sector. New three-year funding agreements were offered to services to provide greater funding certainty while reducing administrative burden.
The four new family support services activities are:
- Communities for Children services, which are aimed at prevention and early intervention for families with children up to 12 years and who are disadvantaged or at risk of becoming disadvantaged, including Indigenous families in remote locations
- Family and Relationship Services, which help adults with relationship issues, provide counselling for young people and children, and provide broader parenting education and support
- Specialist Services, which help families affected by drugs, violence and trauma
- Community Playgroups, which are operated by parents to provide a friendly and safe environment for parents and children to access early learning development resources and peer support.
As part of the Family Support Program redesign, FaHCSIA, in partnership with service providers, developed a draft performance framework to improve data collection. The Department invited all Family Relationship Services to participate in pilot testing of data collection methods in 2010, and conducted separate pilot testing with selected Children and Parenting Services in 2011. Consultants supported Family Relationship Services providers to collect data on longer-term client outcomes in 2010–11. The results contributed to the draft performance framework and refinement of program performance indicators. The new Family Support Program performance framework aims to:
- ensure that services are clearly focused on achieving positive outcomes for clients, including improved social and economic engagement
- provide a logical and consistent approach for measuring outcomes across the program by defining a common set of high-level outcomes and performance indicators that apply to all program services, and that can be adapted to measure specific activities
- link the performance reporting of specific activities to the overall program performance, including the achievement of program outcomes.
Family Relationship Services
The objective of Family Relationship Services is to increase access to and timely provision of services for families, particularly disadvantaged and at-risk families, to improve family functioning, including safety, and reduce the impact of family breakdown, family violence and substance abuse.
Some Family Relationship Services, including Men and Family Relationship Services, Family Counselling, Specialised Family Violence Services and Adolescent Mediation and Family Therapy, have been jointly funded by FaHCSIA and the Attorney-General’s Department since 2006.
In 2010–11 the Kids in Focus services commenced in each state and territory. The new services provide intensive parenting support for children in families where parents have alcohol- or drug-related problems. In March 2011 Kids in Focus service practitioners and service staff met in Canberra for the first time to share knowledge and experiences.
In 2010–11, Family Support Drought Response Teams assisted almost 13,000 individuals in rural and regional Australia who were experiencing emotional and financial stress due to prolonged drought conditions. These teams operate in areas that have been declared as experiencing exceptional circumstances due to prolonged periods of drought. Teams comprise social workers, psychologists and community welfare workers who collaborate with other community service providers to ensure that clients receive holistic and integrated family relationship services. The Department worked closely with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to enhance and better target services for drought-affected communities experiencing the greatest need.
As part of the Western Australian drought pilot in 2010–11, three Rural and Regional Family Support Service providers undertook outreach services and home visits to deliver whole-of-family services in rural and remote communities. The Rural and Regional Family Support Service has been very successful. At 31 May 2011, more than 2,200 individuals had received practical support, including counselling and crisis support, relationship education and skills training. Service providers engage with communities through activities that promote community cohesion, build networks and improve referral pathways.
The Think Family, Think Community initiative provided one-off grants to non-government organisations to run community-based events to promote positive family relationships between young people and their families. Events were held in 20 locations around Australia in 2010, many during National Youth Week and Families Week.
In 2010–11, 48 Indigenous family safety projects were funded throughout Australia. The projects assist Indigenous communities to help prevent child abuse, neglect and family violence, to break the cycle of family violence and prevent future harm, to provide support and skills acquisition for victims of family violence and to build safer Indigenous families and communities.
Children and Parenting Services
Children and Parenting Services provide intensive, targeted and coordinated support for parents and children who are vulnerable, at risk or in disadvantaged communities to improve child development, child safety and family functioning. These investments aim to build more resilient communities through responsive place-based services. The emphasis is on early intervention and prevention, and building capacity and skills in parenting.
Children and Parenting Services play a critical role particularly for parents and children aged from birth to 12 years in reducing barriers to effective parenting and building capacity and confidence to prepare children for school and their parents for work by building parenting skills and confidence and by ensuring that children are physically, developmentally and socially ready for school.
Children and Parenting Services also fund a range of universal information, early intervention and prevention services such as the Raising Children Network website and the Australia-wide network of playgroups. Playgroups promote children’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development, and provide social and support networks for parents and caregivers to encourage and assist them in their parenting role.
The Communities for Children services include 49 Communities for Children sites (8 of these deliver Communities for Children Plus services), 35 Locational Supported Playgroups, 24 Intensive Support Playgroups, 51 Indigenous Parenting Support Services, 33 Indigenous Children’s Programs, 40 Responding Early Assisting Children services, and 53 Invest to Grow (including Child Care Links) projects.
Two new Communities for Children services opened in 2010–11. On 2 February 2011 Anglicare NT was funded as a facilitating partner in a new site based in Alice Springs. The service is playing an important role in the Alice Springs Transformation Plan. This brings the total number of Communities for Children services in the Northern Territory to four. On 19 April 2011 the Government opened a Communities for Children Plus service in Midland, Western Australia, bringing the total number of Communities for Children and Communities for Children Plus sites in Western Australia to seven.
In response to the flooding in Victoria and Queensland and Cyclone Yasi in Far North Queensland, the Government provided additional temporary funding of $660,000 for a number of Family Support Program service providers to deliver additional counselling, playgroup and parenting support services to affected communities.
A new Intensive Family Support Service was established in 2010–11 as part of a package of measures announced by the Australian Government in response to the Growing them strong, together report of the Board of Inquiry into the Child Protection System in the Northern Territory 2010. The new service provides intensive parenting support and education for clients referred by Northern Territory child protection workers. The $25 million service is being rolled out over four years in urban, regional and remote areas. Service providers are collaborating with the Parenting Research Centre and Menzies School of Research to develop an evidence-based model of service delivery that will inform family support intervention with Indigenous families.
National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children
The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, endorsed by COAG on 30 April 2009, is an ambitious, long-term approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australian children. It aims to deliver a substantial and sustained reduction in levels of child abuse and neglect.
Significant progress has been made in the first 18 months, including:
- agreeing on National Standards for Out-of-Home Care, which will take effect from 1 July 2011
- introducing more than 50 new Indigenous Parenting Support Services
- opening eight new Communities for Children Plus sites across Australia, which provide community-wide services for children at risk
- establishing new information-sharing processes between Commonwealth agencies, including Centrelink and Medicare, and state child protection agencies
- increasing payments for young people leaving care
- trialling a new tool to assess the needs of vulnerable children and their families in four communities across Australia
- releasing the first annual report on the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children on 10 March 2011
- planning for a network of 25 grandparent peer support groups, to be established across Australia from 1 July 2011.
National Standards for Out-of-Home Care
In December 2010, Community and Disability Services Ministers agreed to 13 National Standards for Out-of-Home Care, to be introduced from July 2011. These national standards focus on key areas, including access to health, education and training, increased support for carers and enhanced transition planning for all young people.
In April 2011, ministers also agreed to a schedule of national measurement and public reporting arrangements for the national standards. Public reporting on the standards will be through the annual report to COAG. The standards will be the vehicle for driving continuous improvement and developing national consistency in reporting on outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care.
Initial reporting in the next annual report to COAG will be based on five measures for which data is currently collected and reported nationally. Measures will be progressively introduced so that by 2015 there will be 22 measures reported against the full set of national standards.
Summary of performance
Table 5.1 summarises the Department’s results for program 1.1 against the key performance indicators published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 5.1 Program 1.1—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|Family Relationship Servicesa/Children and Parenting Services|
|Percentage and number of clients reporting improved family functioning, including child wellbeing||
This indicator measures program success in making a lasting difference in improving family functioning, including child wellbeing. It is based on self-reports 3–6 months after the end of the intervention.
|Percentage and number of clients with improved knowledge and skills related to family functioning, parenting, family safety or child development||
This indicator measures program success in making an immediate difference in increasing client knowledge and skills related to family functioning, parenting, family safety or child development. It is based on self-reports at the end of the intervention.
|Percentage and number of clients satisfied with assistance received||
This indicator measures client satisfaction with services received. It is based on self-reports at the end of the intervention.
|Percentage and number of clients assisted from priority groups||
This indicator measures the program’s ability to attract and engage priority groups and is taken from the number of registered clients of Early Intervention Services and the number of Children and Parenting Services participants.
|Percentage and number of service sites in the most disadvantaged or targeted communities||
This indicator measures the reach of the program into disadvantaged communities. It is based on the two most disadvantaged deciles of the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas index of disadvantage.
- Includes Family Counselling services, which are jointly funded by FaHCSIA and the Attorney-General’s Department.
- A statistically significant sampling methodology was used.
- Available for Family Relationship Services only. Based on a successful pilot conducted in 2010–11, the survey has been extended to incorporate all of the Family Support Program in 2011–12.
- Not relevant for Family Relationship Services as these are not locationally based.
- Data from locationally based Children and Parenting Services July–December 2010.
Table 5.2 summarises the Department’s results for program 1.1 against the deliverables published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 5.2 Program 1.1—deliverables
|Family Relationship Services|
|Number of clients assisted a||
51,308 Mensline calls
|Children and Parenting Services|
|Number of clients assisted b||549,105|
|Find and Connect|
|An agreed Find and Connect Service delivery model is developed and commenced||Comprehensive capacity building in the sector, driven by Government, is required in the short-term. This will enable the Government’s Find and Connect vision to be implemented, through a phased approach, over the next 12 months.|
|Strategies are in place that support improved access by care leavers to their records||The Find and Connect web resource will be launched in 2011–12.|
- As at 15 August 2011. Figures include Family Counselling services, which are jointly funded by FaHCSIA and the Attorney-General’s Department.
- Includes both engagement with low-intensity services, such as community playgroups, and more intensive assistance, such as Responding Early Assisting Children.
Program 1.2: Family Tax Benefit
The objective of program 1.2 is to make payments to assist low- and medium-income families with the costs of raising dependent children.
The program has the following components:
- Family Tax Benefit Part A
- Family Tax Benefit Part B.
An estimated 73 per cent of families with children aged under 16 were eligible for Family Tax Benefit (FTB), and around 71 per cent of families were eligible for FTB A and 59 per cent for Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB B).*
Over the course of a year, FTB helped approximately 7 million people (parents and children), or roughly a third of the total population.‡
Family Tax Benefit Part A
The objective of FTB A is to make payments to assist low- and medium-income families with the costs of raising dependent children. The payments support better family functioning by improving the financial wellbeing of low- and medium-income families with children.
FTB A is the primary family assistance payment and is paid in respect of each eligible child to assist families with the direct cost of raising their children. Eligibility for FTB A is based on the combined income of a family (families that receive income support are not income tested) to ensure that family assistance is targeted to low- and medium-income families.
Family Tax Benefit Part B
The objective of FTB B is to make payments to assist low- and medium-income families with one main income, including single parents, to enable them to exercise choices to balance labour force participation and child care responsibilities.
FTB B is paid, on a per family basis, to single-parent or couple families in which the second earner’s income is low. Eligibility for FTB B is limited to families in which the primary earner has an income of $150,000 or less. Eligible single-parent families receive the maximum rate. The level of assistance paid for eligible couple families is determined by the secondary earner income test.
Summary of performance
Table 5.3 summarises the Department’s results for program 1.2 against the key performance indicators published in the 2010–11 PB Statements for FTB A and FTB B.
Table 5.3 Program 1.2—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B|
|Total number of recipients||2 million families for 2008–09 entitlement year|
|Percentage and number of recipients paid by instalment||1,887,000 (92%) of customers were entitled to fortnightly payments for the 2008–09 entitlement year|
|Percentage and number of recipients paid by lump sum||156,000 (8%) of customers were entitled to a lump-sum payment for the 2008–09 entitlement year|
|Proportion and amount of administered outlays paid by instalment and by lump sum||$17.3 billion (96%) of administered outlays paid by instalment and $673 million (4%) paid as a lump sum|
|Percentage and number of recipients obtaining a qualification debt||104,000 customers (5%) of the total FTB instalment population for the 2008–09 entitlement year had a qualification debt|
|Percentage and number of recipients obtaining a debt following reconciliation||161,000 customer (7%) of the total FTB population for the 2008–09 entitlement year had a reconciliation debt|
|Percentage and number of recipients obtaining a non-lodger debt||37,000 customers (2%) of the total FTB population for the 2008–09 entitlement year had a non-lodger debta|
|Percentage and number of families with children under 16 years of age receiving FTB Part A and/or FTB Part Bb||
1.77 million families with dependent children under 16 years of age received FTB A and/or FTB B
|Agreements are in place with all service delivery agencies||Agreements are in place with Centrelink and Medicare Australia.|
|Strategies are in place to ensure that requirements are fulfilled under agreements with service delivery agencies||In accordance with the bilateral management arrangement with Centrelink and the service agreement with Medicare Australia the Department provided quarterly reports (including information exchanges) to ensure that all risks are being managed. Business discussions were held on a quarterly basis with each agency.|
|Family Tax Benefit Part A|
|Percentage and number of families in receipt of FTB Part A within income test categories (instalment customers only—as at 24 June 2011)||
|Family Tax Benefit Part B|
|Percentage and number of families in receipt of FTB Part B within income test categories (instalment customers only—as at 24 June 2011)||
aCustomers with an unresolved non-lodger debt at 30 June 2011.
bProportions are based on FTB eligible customers and estimated number of Australian families with children under 16 years old based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Income and Housing June 2009 and Labour Force Survey, June 2009.
Table 5.4 summarises the Department’s result for program 1.2 against the deliverable published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 5.4 Program 1.2—deliverable
|Payments are made through Centrelink and Medicare Australia to eligible claimants under the provisions of family assistance law||Payments were made as described|
Program 1.3: Parental Payments and Care Incentives
The objective of program 1.3 is to make payments to families to assist with the associated costs of a newborn or adopted child, to maximise the period that parents can be away from work to spend time with their new baby or adopted child and to encourage all families to fully immunise their children.
The program has the following components:
- Paid Parental Leave
- Baby Bonus
- Maternity Immunisation Allowance
- Double Orphan Pension.
Paid Parental Leave
The objective of the PPL scheme is to provide financial support to working parents to enable them to take time off work to care for their child, to enhance maternal and child health and development, to facilitate workforce participation and to promote gender equity and work–family balance.
The scheme provides Parental Leave Pay for a maximum period of 18 weeks at the rate of the national minimum wage (currently $589.40 per week before tax) to eligible working parents whose child is born or adopted from 1 January 2011.
To be eligible for the scheme a person must be the primary carer of a child born or adopted from 1 January 2011, be an Australian resident, meet the work test and have an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the previous financial year. Only the primary carer’s income counts towards the income test, not the household income. To meet the work test, a person must have worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of their child, and worked for at least 330 hours (just over one day a week) in that 10-month period, with no more than an eight-week gap between two consecutive working days.
Employers are required to provide government-funded Parental Leave Pay to their eligible, long-term, continuing employees who have or adopt a child from 1 July 2011. Employers are able to opt in to provide Parental Leave Pay to those employees whom they are not required to pay. The opt-in has been possible from the start of the scheme.
During 2010–11, 42,975 parents received Parental Leave Pay, with 11,859 of these completing their PPL period.
The objective of Baby Bonus is to make payments to families to assist with the costs arising from the birth or adoption of a child.
The Baby Bonus is a per child payment, paid in 13 fortnightly instalments to families following the birth or adoption of a child to help with the costs associated with a newborn or adopted child. Payment is subject to a family income test that limits eligibility to families with a combined income of $75,000 or less in the six‑month period after the birth or after the child enters care.
In 2010–11 the Baby Bonus was paid to 219,000 families for 223,000 births or adoptions. Of these, 131,000 families were paid the Baby Bonus for 133,000 children between 1 July and 31 December 2010, and 88,000 families were paid the Baby Bonus for 90,000 births or adoptions between 1 January and 30 June 2011. The lower number of Baby Bonus claims in the second half of 2010–11 was due to the introduction of the PPL scheme.
Maternity Immunisation Allowance
The objective of Maternity Immunisation Allowance is to make payments to encourage families to fully immunise their natural and adopted children in accordance with Australian standards. The allowance supports improved child development and safety in all families by impeding the spread of infectious diseases within the Australian community.
The Maternity Immunisation Allowance is one component of the Government’s broader strategy for reaching high levels of immunisation among Australian children. The allowance is a non–income tested payment that is generally paid in two instalments to the parent or carer of a child who has been fully immunised. The first amount is paid if a child is fully immunised between the ages of 18 months and 24 months and the second amount is paid if a child is fully immunised between four and five years of age.
Double Orphan Pension
The objective of Double Orphan Pension is to make non–means tested payments to guardians or approved care organisations to assist in meeting the costs of dependent children who are double orphans.
Double Orphan Pension is a supplementary payment to a guardian or approved care organisation responsible for the care and control of a child aged under 16 or to full‑time students aged 16 to 21 who do not receive Youth Allowance. The payment applies in cases where both parents have died or one parent has died and the other parent is unable or unavailable to care for the child or student for specific reasons. A child who has been granted refugee status by the Australian Government and has never lived in Australia with either or both parents, and whose parents are outside Australia or their whereabouts are unknown, may also be eligible for the payment. Double Orphan Pension is usually paid in addition to Family Tax Benefit Part A.
During 2010–11, approximately 1,300 carers received Double Orphan Pension for 1,900 children at a cost of approximately $3.26 million. Double Orphan Pension was most commonly paid in situations where one parent had died and the other parent’s whereabouts were unknown (531); to refugee children (499); and for children whose parents had both died (700).
Summary of performance
Table 5.5 summarises the Department’s results for program 1.3 against the key performance indicators published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 5.5 Program 1.3—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|Paid Parental Leave (PPL)|
|Number of mothers for whom PPL has been paid as a proportion of all mothers in the same year||15% (43,000) of all mothers in 2010–11 based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics publication 3222.0 Series B estimatesa|
|Percentage and number of parents paid PPL by employers||2.2% (939) of parents whose payment had commenced or finished during 2010–11b|
|Percentage and number of families who take the full 18 weeks of PPL||98.7% (11,522) of families whose payment was finalised during 2010–11|
|Number and percentage of children for whom Baby Bonus is paid as a proportion of all children born in the same year||
223,000 children for whom Baby Bonus is paid
78%, as a proportion of all children born in 2010–11 based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics publication 3222.0 Series B estimates
|Maternity Immunisation Allowance|
|Percentage and number of children vaccinated to the highest level appropriate for their age in the Australian community||
Children fully immunised (by age group):
12–15 months: 75,000 (90%)
|Baby Bonus/Maternity Immunisation Allowance|
|Number of recipients||
219,000 families received Baby Bonus in 2010–11.
267,000 families received Maternity Immunisation Allowance in 2010–11.
Baby Bonus: $1,176.97 million
Maternity Immunisation Allowance: $35.81 million
|Payment accuracy||Payment accuracy for the Baby Bonus and the Maternity Immunisation Allowance was not measured in 2010–11, as these payments were not included in the random sample survey program.|
|Service delivery agreements are in place with all service delivery agencies||Agreements are in place with Centrelink and Medicare Australia.|
|Strategies are in place to ensure that requirements are fulfilled under agreements with service delivery agencies||In accordance with the bilateral management arrangement with Centrelink and the service agreement with Medicare Australia, the Department provided quarterly reports (including information exchanges) to ensure that all risks are being managed. Business discussions were held on a quarterly basis with each agency.|
a An additional 11,500 families are eligible for PPL for births prior to 1 July 2011, but had not commenced payment by early August. PPL was introduced on 1 January 2011, so information can only be provided for half of 2010–11.
b The full phase of the PPL employer role did not begin until 1 July 2011.
Table 5.6 summarises the Department’s results for program 1.3 against the deliverables published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 5.6 Program 1.3—deliverables
|Payments are made through Centrelink and Medicare Australia to eligible claimants under the provisions of family assistance law||Payments were made as described|
|Double Orphan Pension is paid through Centrelink to eligible claimants under the provisions of social security law||Payments were made as described|
|Paid Parental Leave is proposed to be paid under a new Act of Parliament||Payments were made as described|
Outlook for Outcome 1
In 2011–12 the Department will implement the new Family Support Program arrangements in a way that ensures that services are targeting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families. The Department will continue to develop the performance framework to ensure that the Department is strongly positioned to track outcomes for clients, including their participation in work.
During 2010–11, the Department developed several 2010 election commitment measures that were subsequently included in the
2011–12 Budget. The measures included:
- increasing support through FTB A for families with teenagers aged 16 to 19 in full-time secondary study (to be implemented on 1 January 2012). This change will make FTB A the primary form of government assistance for dependent children under 18 who are in full-time secondary education. Families will no longer experience a reduction in government assistance when their dependent child in secondary study turns 16. Over the next five years families of around 650,000 teenagers turning 16 may be eligible for the increased assistance if their child stays on at school
- making payment of the FTB A supplement for a child turning four in the relevant financial year conditional on the child undergoing a health assessment (to be implemented on 1 July 2011). The health check requirement will apply to children whose parents or carers receive income support during the relevant financial year. It is intended to improve the health and wellbeing of Australian children, particularly those in low-income families
- under the ‘Better access to family payments’ election commitment, improving families’ access to their family payments by offering more flexible advance payment arrangements for FTB A and by paying a greater proportion of the total amount of a family’s Baby Bonus in the first instalment (both measures are due to be implemented on 1 July 2011). The measures are intended to help families cope with cost-of-living pressures, especially for large and often unexpected household expenses
- providing 25 MyTime for Grandparents peer support groups to support grandparent carers who are the full-time carers of their grandchildren in recognition of the additional support they require and the social isolation they may experience.
In 2011–12, the Department will work on expanding and enhancing the Communities for Children service to support the Government’s Building Australia’s Future Workforce package.
The enhanced service will work with teenage parents and jobless families to provide them with the support they need to give their children the best start in life by building parenting skills and confidence, and by ensuring their children are physically, developmentally and socially ready for school. This new approach is being trialled in 10 targeted locations, seven of which are sites with existing Communities for Children services: Burnie (Tasmania), Hume (Victoria), Logan (Queensland), Kwinana (Western Australia), Playford (South Australia), Shellharbour (New South Wales) and Wyong (New South Wales); and three of which will have new Communities for Children services established: Bankstown (New South Wales), Shepparton (Victoria) and Rockhampton (Queensland)
The Department will continue to develop policy and legislation in consultation with business, industry and families and prepare for the implementation of Dad and Partner Pay on 1 January 2013. Dad and Partner Pay will provide eligible fathers or partners caring for a child born or adopted on or after 1 January 2013 with two weeks’ pay at the rate of the national minimum wage.
In 2011–12, the Department will continue to evaluate the PPL scheme, focusing on the operations of the scheme in the first 12 months.
The Department will continue to complete work on national priority projects outlined in Implementing the first three-year action plan 2009–12 for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children by 2012. A second action plan will be developed in consultation with state and territory governments and the non-government sector.
* Proportions are based on FTB eligible customers and estimated number of Australian families with children under 16 years old based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Income and Housing June 2009 and Labour Force Survey as for June 2009.
‡ Estimate is based on FTB population eligible for the 2008–09 entitlement year