Marilyn McHugh: Supporting Foster and Kinship Carers: Levels of Remuneration for Carers

Australia has 9,900 foster carer households and 13,700 relative/kinship households caring for 43,400 children in out-of-home care. Given the higher number of children in care, compared to carers, it is not surprising that over half (52%) of all foster care households have multiple placements (2-4 foster children) compared to 39% of relative/kinship households. A range of financial and non-financial supports are required to support and sustain placements, prevent carer burnout and the breakdown of placements. An important component of financial support is carer remuneration (i.e. care allowance/subsidy). Ongoing difficulties in carer recruitment/retention, and the increasing costs of children, suggests it is appropriate to consider the current levels of carer allowances provided by the eight jurisdictions and discuss how levels compare to current Foster Care Estimates (FCEs). The FCEs, based on the costs of children not in care, are adjusted to reflect estimates of the day-to-day costs of caring for children in different age groups. The ongoing absence of a national framework setting levels of subsidies fails to ensure adequacy and equity for all carers. This paper looks at the state of play and how, in relation to remuneration, carers in the various States are faring in relation to the FCEs.


To see Marilyn McHugh's presentation slides from the Shine A Light Conference click here