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Increase the Care Allowance (The Campaign)

Victoria has the lowest Care Allowance rate in the country.

Enough is enough 

Carers are already volunteering their hearts and homes to provide care to young people who need them and the allowance rate is falling in real value by the month, forcing carers to pay out of pocket on essentials like food, bills and services because they will not let the children in their care go without.   

In the last budget there was no contingency for an increase to the allowance.

Despite years of advocacy by carers and peak bodies, as well as a KPMG report on the Allowance that the Government has kept cabinet-in-confidence which provides evidence of the shortfall, carers are still bearing the true costs of care.

We are demanding better

View the rates comparison across other states to see that Victoria has the lowest Care Allowance rate for foster, kinship and permanent care in Australia. We ask the Government to increase the care allowance to meet parity with the rates in NSW and other neighbouring states, as outlined in our letter to ministers Treasurer Pallas and Minister Blandthorn and indexation that keeps pace with the cost of living. The Care Allowance was only indexed by around 2% in the last two years, when household inflation was over 6% and 7% consecutively with the consequence that the already low Care Allowance has declined in real value.


An overview of the Campaign to date, support, progress, challenges & next steps

Update on the Campaign

Thank you to those who made a submission to the Petition to Increase the Care Allowance (The Campaign). Since the campaign launch in June 2023, over 2,100 carers, care-experienced people, workers and other supporters have made a submission to the campaign.   

Why a campaign?

The campaign committee, including the Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) and Permanent Care and Adoptive Families (PCAF), started the Care Allowance Campaign on behalf of our carer members, following years of advocacy to Government and the DFFH, with no increase. In fact, there has been no net increase to the Care Allowance rate since 2016. In an era of record attrition rates of foster carers. (See the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - Data Table 7.2 in Child Protection tab). This most recent data shows that 621 households exited the foster care system in 2021-22, while only 317 were recruited. With a cost-of-living crisis, all evidence points to the care allowance being significantly underfunded in this state. The state government in January 2022, received a commissioned report from consulting firm KPMG that has not been released, but parts of which have been made public, that recommended a 67% increase to the Care Allowance, but the state government has not adopted the recommendation.  

We are asking for an increase to the Care Allowance rates in Victoria that meets parity with other states in Australia. Currently, Victoria is well behind other states, exacerbated by fewer incremental increases in the Allowance rates by age range and indexation rates that are around 5% below inflation year on year.   See State-by-State breakdown here.


The Call to Action

The campaign was set up to allow carers and their supporters to directly petition for an increase to the allowance. The petition aims to demonstrate to those in decision-making positions the real -life impacts of the insufficient Care Allowance on carers’ lives and the placements of the children and young people in their care.  

Victoria has the lowest Care Allowance rate in the country

Campaign Progress

Since June 2023, the campaign has received over 2,100 submissions just like these...

See more examples of submissions here

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The Good News  

The submissions made by those with lived experience have outlined the hardships involved in providing care on the current allowance rates. The campaign is raising attention and carer submissions have elicited the support of ACCOs, CSOs, larger sector advocates and the media.  

Home-based Care Sector Support 

We have been grateful for the support of sector organisations who have partnered with us to promote the campaign including: Anchor Community Care Ltd, Anglicare, Berry Street, Child and Family Services (CAFS), Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP), Lighthouse Foundation, Mallee Family Care, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), the Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People's Alliance (The Alliance) and Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS).   

See supporters as at December 2023 as the list of endorsements continues to grow


Submission to Treasury

In December 2023 we were invited by government to attend a meeting with the Treasurer’s Office where we were able to advocate on behalf of carers and table the 2,000+ Care Allowance Petition submissions received to that date.  



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Above: CEO of the Foster Care Association of Victoria, Samantha Hauge, delivering the submission package to the Victorian Treasurer's Office in December 2023.


Community Services Sector Support

The support of larger sector advocates is important to the Campaign, and we are grateful for the inclusion of an increase to the Care Allowance as urgent and important recommendations in:   

  1. The Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) 2024 Budget Submission Read VCOSS Budget submission pp 45-46  
  2. The Commission for Children & Young People’s (CCYP) “Let us learn: Systemic inquiry into the educational experiences of children and young people in out-of-home care” outlines the importance of carer support in Education for young people in care. Among many important findings, the Inquiry finds metrics on outcomes and experiences of children and young people in the education and care system are impacted by the low Carer Allowance and other barriers to funding support in children’s households and makes the case for solutions and recommendations.  Read CCYP Inquiry Report Chapter 6 pp 137-139  


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The Campaign in the Media

Victorian care allowance advocacy has garnered high profile media attention including: 

  1. Herald Sun February 2023 - “Victorian foster carers still waiting for major allowance increase.” The state government was urged to make major changes to the foster system last year, now 12 months on carers are quitting in droves. Read article behind the paywall here.  
  2. Herald Sun September 2023 (below) - “Foster carers sound alarm over Victoria paying lowest allowance in Australia”. Struggling foster carers are deserting the industry in Victoria due to being paid the lowest allowances in the country to look after vulnerable children. Read article behind the paywall here. 

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 3. Front-page The Age December 3, 2023 - “Foster Carers leaving the system as cost of living, low allowance pushes them out.”  Read the article behind the paywall on the FCAV website here

With many thanks to Leigh and Bek Stevens, carers in Bendigo and Fiona and Mike Te Wierik, carers in Narre Warren, for outlining the impact of the low care allowance on their caring role. Thanks also to the over 50 carer submitters to the campaign who volunteered to be interviewed. Read the article behind the paywall on the FCAV website here.  


4. The Campaign story was then syndicated and featured on Channel 7 news



The Not So Good News

It is disappointing that despite numerous letters, submissions, meetings and media, neither the Departments of Treasury or Families, Fairness and Housing have provided a commitment to increase the Care Allowance.    

We have been advised that Victoria is in a constrained fiscal situation and that the next Budget is likely to be tight, with Departments required to be more efficient and targeted with programs and expenditure. However, unlike other costs/programs that the State can reduce or reprofile, the Care Allowance is paid to cover the day to day living costs of vulnerable children, in recognition that the State Government is responsible for covering those living costs. There is no cost efficiency that can be made in the upbringing of children and young people in care and nor should there be, however, the cost benefit of investing in the home-based care of children and young people is enormous and well documented (see one of many reports here pp112). Limited funding means only one thing, volunteer carers who already have reduced income-earning capacity, loss in leave and superannuation due to their caring role, are footing the bill.  

Campaign Next Steps

Volunteers should not be paying for cost of care expenses out of their own pocket.  The Foster Care Association of Victoria and Permanent Care and Adoptive Families will continue to run the campaign using every means possible until such time as the Government announce an increase to the care allowance that covers the cost of caring for a child.  

What can you do?   

Continue to submit and interact with the campaign; like and share posts and encourage other carers to make a submission. Find out more and sign the petition click button below.

Permanent carers can find out more about Flexible Funding: visit: Flexible Funding (  Email:  or call: 03 9020 1833 and press 3. For information and support relating to Carer Allowance: Phone 03 9020 1833 and press 1 or Email:   

Stay tuned to the FCAV and PCAF Facebook pages and newsletters for further updates on the campaign.  

As well as signing the petition below, please use this draft Letter to your MP - to contact your local MP to seek their support to carers and the campaign. Adapt this letter as described, adding your own perspective as you see fit, save to your pc, and attach to an email to your local MP -  find the email address of your local MP here:

Thank you for your support. Together, we can ensure that the invaluable work of carers is recognised and drive advocacy on this critical issue.   

Sign the Petition here