If you have young children, child care can be a complex issue. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy involve periods where you are immune-compromised and your treating team will advise you to avoid exposure to possible sources of infection. Long Day Care or Family Day Care programs are not usually an option when you are in treatment, because there’s a risk of your child bringing home a virus or other form of infection. In-home care is a more appropriate option. Paying for in-home care can unfortunately be expensive and is often out of reach for many young women and their families.
If you have limited options for child care, you may need some extra assistance.
The Australian Government's Department of Human Services Child Care section of their website provides information on government financial assistance for child care, such as the Child Care Benefit. It also explains the terms and conditions of application.
You can also visit the Australian Government’s My Child website, which provides information on:
- the types of care available (e.g. long day care, family day care, occasional care and in-home care)
- the location of child care services in your area, and any possible vacancies
- the fees charged
- how to choose a quality child care service
- how the Australian Government can help with the cost of your child care.
It is so difficult sole parenting young children with little to no support. Managing the day-to-day housekeeping and cooking has been challenging. – Zoe
If you already receive the Child Care Benefit (CCB), you might be eligible for extra hours under the ‘exceptional circumstances’ provision.
If your illness has caused hardship and you are having difficulty paying your child care fees, you may be eligible for up to 13 weeks of Special Child Care Benefit (SCCB). Your child care provider will have more information.
If your children are not in approved child care and you would like to access this while you are receiving treatment, you can contact the Child Care Access Hotline on 1800 670 305, or TTY Service 1800 810 586.
For more information on the Special Child Care Benefit, visit the Family Assistance Office website or call 13 61 50.
The Australian Government’s in-home care program provides child care in your home through an approved educator. The program has limited allocation places, and to be eligible you must meet a set of criteria. To find out more about your eligibility for the program, contact the Family Assistance Office or call 13 61 50.
Some local councils provide home help services, and may also be able to help with child care. You can contact them directly, or talk to your GP, oncology nurse or social worker to find out what services are available in your area.
Mummy’s Wish is a Queensland-based organisation that provides practical support to families with a child under 12 while a mother is having cancer treatment. Support provided includes help with child care options, housecleaning and housekeeping, provision of meals, financial assistance, and food vouchers. Phone (07) 3162 8265 or email email@example.com.