Children and Parenting Support (CaPS)
Children and Parenting Support (CaPS) services focus on providing:
- early intervention and prevention services aimed at improving children’s development and wellbeing
- adjunct care and early learning services
- support to those in a parenting/carer role.
Services seek to identify issues such as risk of neglect or abuse within families, and provide interventions or appropriate referral(s) before these issues escalate.
CaPS funding may also go to organisations that provide information about children’s development and parenting skills.
Services should meet the needs of all families, including those families who do not work a nine-to-five, five-day working week. This ensures that children are fully prepared for learning and life.
Who benefits from CaPS services?
CaPS services provide support to children aged 0-12 years (may include children up to 18 as necessary) and their families.
How are CaPS services delivered?
CaPS services are delivered in identified areas of need across Australia through face-to-face and online service delivery models.
Services include, but are not limited to, community playgroups, supported playgroups, crèches, school readiness programs, parenting courses, home visiting, counselling, support services, outside school hour’s care, mobile services and peer support groups.
In each state and territory across Australia, specialised CaPS services support families and children experiencing the impacts of alcohol and other drug misuse. These services use a prevention and early intervention family support approach to deal with the impacts of substance misuse problems, through integrated, long-term and intensive support.
Go to the list of Children and Parenting Support service providers to find a service near you.
The CaPS Operational Guidelines assist CaPS providers to work in a consistent, coordinated and cooperative way. The guidelines outline the key elements of service delivery and seek to clarify policy and process questions that may arise during the delivery of the CaPS activity.
Activity Work Plans
CaPS grant agreements include requirements for providers to submit Activity Work Plans (AWPs). AWPs provide detail on the activities that will be implemented under the Grant Agreement over the upcoming 12-month period. AWP requirements are listed in the reporting milestones table of new grant agreements.
Guidance for completing the AWP is located within the AWP template document. Further guidance can be found in the AWP Guidance document.
Five National CaPS
In 2023-24, the department will review the mid-term performance of the five national CaPS providers that received 5-year extensions from 1 July 2021. This review will commence on 1 September 2023 and the department will notify providers of their outcomes by 29 February 2024.
The Review Point assessment criteria for the five national CaPS are contained within the CaPS Operational Guidelines.
- Review Point 2023 fact sheet (National CaPS providers extended in 2021)
All Other CaPS
In 2024-25, the Department will review the performance of all other CaPS services (including former BBF services) that received funding extensions from 1 July 2023. This review will commence on 1 September 2024, and the Department will notify providers of their outcome by 28 February 2025.
The Review Point assessment criteria can be found in the CaPS Operational Guidelines.
- Review Point 2024 fact sheet (CaPS providers extended in 2023)
Funding extensions and new investments
Extensions from 1 July 2023
Funding extensions were offered to all CaPS services due to cease in 2023 (including some ad-hoc services) for up to 3 years to 30 June 2026.
This included all services formerly funded under the Budget Based Funded (BBF) program. BBF services were transitioned into the CaPS program due to the similarities between the two programs, and the BBF program ceased on 30 June 2023.
The transition of BBF into CaPS is an administrative change only, and does not affect service delivery of any BBF or CaPS services.
The former BBF program provided access to quality support services that focus on child care and school readiness, such as flexible and affordable adjunct care and early learning services.
- Media release: Future-proofing programs to support families and children
Extensions from 1 July 2021
Five CaPS services received 5-year grant extensions from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2026.
As part of these extensions, the Department introduced a number of reforms aimed at improving reporting and tracking of outcomes for Australia’s families and children. More information is available on the FaC Activity 2021 reforms webpage.
Helping families learn and grow with Playgroups
As part of the 2022-23 Budget, the Australian Government announced $12.4 million over 4 years to boost access to playgroups and toy libraries.
Playgroups provide social and parenting support for parents and carers, support the development and wellbeing of children and parent-child relationships, and help families feel a sense of belonging and connection with their community.
Funding will also go to toy libraries to ensure families can access developmentally appropriate toys, to promote play-based learning for children from a range of backgrounds.
The program will be delivered by:
- direct funding agreements with the national organisations, Playgroup Australia and Toy Libraries Australia to identify and fund local playgroups and toy libraries across Australia including in regional and remote locations
- individual grants will also be provided to community based organisations that operate playgroups and toy libraries
- a pilot of up to 10 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to operate First Nations Playgroups.
Contact PlaygroupsandToylibraries@dss.gov.au for more information