Understanding just how much childcare is going to cost before you start can be tricky, so here’s a little information on the benefits and subsidies available, plus when and how you can receive them.

How do I pay for my child to attend Columba Cottage?
We charge $98 – $101 per day at Columba Cottage. The Australian Government provides families with financial assistance to help cover these costs. This assistance is called the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate. The amount of Child Care Benefit that you receive is based on your family income, and the Child Care Rebate is not income tested. For some families, the upfront cost of $101 per day can be significantly reduced and we have provided an example below.

Child Care Benefit (CCB)
The Child Care Benefit can be paid directly to Columba Cottage so that you don’t have to pay more upfront. You will see this reflected in your invoice, after your child has attended the centre. If you choose to receive your Child Care Benefit direct to you, you may have to wait until the end of the financial year to receive the money. The actual benefit does not change based on how you choose to receive it. You can apply for the Child Care Benefit online or in person through Centrelink. To apply online, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Child Care Rebate (CCR)
The Child Care Rebate is intended to help families cover the out-of-pocket costs of child care. It is not based on how much you or your partner earns, so even if your income is too high for you to receive the Child Care Benefit, you may still be eligible for the Child Care Rebate. It covers up to 50 per cent of out-of-pocket costs, up to $7,500 per child, per year.

You may choose to receive the Child Care Rebate paid fortnightly, either directly to your bank account, or through Columba Cottage as a fee reduction, and this is also shown on your invoice after your child has attended the centre. You still have the option of having your Child Care Rebate paid quarterly or annually as a lump sum directly to your bank account. Out-of-pocket child care costs are calculated after deducting any Child Care Benefit payments that are received.

Here is an example of our fees and charges, taking the CCB and CCR into consideration:
Emily and Christopher have a combined income of approximately $76,000 per year. They have two children attending Columba Cottage. They qualify for both the CCB and the CCR. Their children attend Columba Cottage two days a week, and family day care one day per week. They have elected for the CCB and CCR to be paid to Columba Cottage so that they only pay the gap (remainder) after CCB and CCR have been calculated. Our billing cycle is fortnightly and we bill in advance.

Child 1: Day 1: $98
Child 1: Day 2: $98
Child 2: Day 1: $101
Child 2: Day 2: $101

Total: $398
-minus the Child Care Benefit of approximately $178.48
-minus the Child Care Rebate of $93.31
Therefore, the total approximate cost payable to Columba Cottage for the week: $126.21

The Department of Human Services website has a calculator so that you can calculate how much you personally can benefit. Click here to calculate based on your own circumstances.

Note that the CCB and CCR will cover 42 absences per financial year, after that you will be required to pay full fees.

We are unable to forecast the amount of CCB and CCR that you may receive.  To find out more information about the Child Care Benefit or the Child Care Rebate and if you are eligible, please contact the Family Assistance Office on 13 61 50.

About the author: All round go-getter, Susanna Christie, is the Executive Director of Columba Cottage Early Learning Centre, where she leads a passionate team of 50 staff who love what they do, caring for children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 6 years. With a background in teaching from pre-school through to university, Susanna is passionate about all aspects of child development and wellbeing. Her qualifications include a Masters in Education, Bachelor of Teaching and a Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies. Susanna’s aim is to ensure that Columba Cottage remains the best Early Learning Centre on the Mid North Coast.