To provide child protection workers with information about the process and eligibility criteria for children in the CEO’s care to receive a clothing allowance.
Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities (the Department).
Clothing allowance is delivered through two categories of payment:
The principal means of providing for day-to-day clothing for children in the CEO's care is through payment of a clothing allowance to their approved carer.
Clothing allowance is paid with the first subsidy payment in:
Carers are responsible for making sure that the clothing allowance payment is used to purchase clothing for the child in their care and for making sure that the child has sufficient clothing for their needs.
Child protection workers must provide information to carers and children about any benefits or allowances, wages or parental contributions they are entitled to in the Placement and Subsidy Authorisation and the quarterly subsidy review.
Children in Residential Group Homes or in funded community sector placement services do not receive the clothing allowance; there are different arrangements in place for these children. Refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - funding for placements other than approved foster care.
When an eligible child in the CEO's care is placed with an approved carer for the first time he or she will receive a one-off initial clothing grant payment and two clothing allowance payments in the first 12 months of providing continuous care to the child.
For example, if a child enters the CEO's care for the first time in March, the carer will receive the initial clothing grant once the child is in the care arrangement. The carer will then receive a clothing allowance payment in May and September.
The initial clothing grant is paid pro rata when the child enters the CEO's care during the first four-month period of eligibility.
In order for the initial clothing grant to be paid, the child protection worker must fill out the query in the Subsidy Information section in the Living Arrangements component in Assist. It is critical that the initial clothing grant is requested when the child first enters the CEO's care, as it cannot be paid once the child has received a regular clothing allowance payment.
Clothing Allowance is paid three times a year in January, May and September (paid in advance) and aligned with the following age groups:
*In exceptional circumstances, for example where a child is placed in a boarding school, the Department must consider issuing a clothing allowance for the child up to the age of 17 years.
Clothing allowance ceases when a child turns 16 years of age once they are eligible for either Youth Allowance or Disability Support Pension (DSP). Youth Allowance (or in some instances, the DSP) replaces the clothing allowance.
Refer to Subsidy Rates and Payments (in related resources) for the current clothing allowance for each age group.
Initial clothing grant
Where a child comes into the CEO's care for the first time, immediate payment for clothing may be made following the team leader's approval in the case plan or by payment through Business Support and Coordination.
When a child is initially placed with a CSO or hospital and they then enter foster care, the CPW must email the Coordinator Client Support Services for approval for the initial clothing grant.
Clothing allowance payments
For an eligible child in the CEO's care placed with an approved carer, the clothing allowance payment for each four month period is paid with the first fortnightly foster subsidy payment at the beginning of the four month period. It is paid on a set date to the carer who has care of that child on that date.
A letter is issued by Business Support and Coordination identifying the amount of clothing allowance being paid, the period covered by the payment, and the name of the child.
It is important that carers keep receipts for the clothing items purchased for the child in their care.
Child protection workers should request that carers keep the receipts as these:
Carers are responsible for making sure that the clothing allowance payment is used to purchase clothing for the child in their care.
The carer should also make sure that if and when the child leaves their care, the child takes the purchased clothing with them.
An overpayment occurs when the clothing allowance has been paid to the carer and the child moves to another care arrangement without the clothing being purchased for the child. The child protection worker should arrange for the return of the clothing allowance payment to the Department so that a new clothing allowance payment can be generated from the subsidies system to the new carer.
Ideally, the previous carer should be encouraged to purchase clothing for the child, and the child takes the clothing with them to the new care arrangement.
When a school has a uniform that is to be worn by the child, the Department must meet the cost for the uniform through case support costs for any child placed with an approved carer, in addition to the clothing allowance. Costs are met through case support costs from the district budget.
Carers can only purchase clothing and seek reimbursement, without prior discussion with the child protection worker, in an emergency.
In addition to the clothing allowance, on occasion it may be necessary to provide money to purchase clothing such as sports or work uniforms. The costs for these are met through case support costs from the district budget.