The Department for Child Protection provides all family-based carers with a carer support payment to help them meet the costs of caring for a child or young person.
The carer payment is paid automatically to approved family-based carers who have a child placed in their care.
The payment is not a wage or salary, but a reimbursement for the costs of caring for a child. It is designed to help cover the day-to-day costs of caring for a child or young person.
The payment is not classed as income and does not need to be listed:
- in tax returns
- on applications for Commonwealth benefits
- when applying for a loan.
Additional payments for children with special needs
Recipients of care support payments may be eligible for an additional payment or loading to help with the extra costs of caring for a child or young person with special needs.
This may include children with physical or intellectual disability or challenging behaviours.
The amount paid for each loading will vary depending on the level of intellectual or physical disability. Your caseworker will determine the level of additional loading through a number of assessments.
See the carer payment rates and loadings (PDF 20KB) for specific amounts or contact the Carer Payment team for further information.
The department provides one-off payments that are not covered by the fortnightly care support payment.
These costs are called incidental expenses and are usually for extra expenses associated with:
- family contact
- maintaining contact with extended family members
- therapy due to previous abuse or neglect.
Carers can also apply for one-off payments to help cover the cost of irregular expenses such as medical appointments or school camps.
The department is committed to supporting young people in care to reach their full potential now and into the future.
There are two programs available to support carers and young people over the age of 18.
Stability in Family-Based Care Program
The Stability in Family-Based Care Program helps young people leaving care remain in their family-based care placement and provides carers with continued carer payments until the young person turns 21.
See SFBC program fact sheet (PDF 145KB) for more information.
Over 18 Education Initiative
For young people over 18 participating in secondary or tertiary study, family-based carers may be eligible for an additional education payment.
Where it is in the young person's best interests to remain in the carer's home, continued carer payments, together with the education grant will continue to be paid (no additional loadings will be applicable).
This payment will be available until the young person moves out of the family home, completes their qualification or turns 25 - whichever is sooner.
See the Carer Support Payments Handbook (PDF 1.5MB) for more information.
There are a number of financial support options available outside of the department.
All school students in foster care are eligible for the school card. It offers financial assistance with educational expenses for students attending government and non-government schools.
See school card scheme on the sa.gov.au website for more information.
Australian government payments and support
Foster carers may also be eligible to receive additional payments from the federal government such as:
Carer Payment team
Telephone: 8226 6666
Email: DCPCarerPayments [at] sa.gov.au