6.2 Mature age persons may be eligible for family assistance and child support when they care for children—frequently grandchildren. In 2009–2010, there were 16,000 Australian families in which grandparents were raising children 17 years or younger. There are a number of reasons why grandchildren may be in the principal care of their grandparents, including: family violence; drug or alcohol misuse; child abuse or neglect; the incarceration or death of a parent; and due to problems arising from mental or physical illness or intellectual disability.
6.3 Mature age persons may also be eligible for family assistance and child support—or be liable to pay child support—as parents. The ALRC has not examined workplace barriers that affect parents as a group, as reforms to address workforce disincentives to parents of all ages are beyond the scope of this Inquiry.
6.4 Generally, the ALRC and stakeholders in this Inquiry have not identified particular barriers to participation in the workforce, or other productive work, for grandparents and other mature age carers in family assistance and child support laws. Consequently, the ALRC has not proposed reforms to these laws. The section below explores two family assistance payments that the ALRC has given particular consideration—Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR). Both payments have specific policy objectives relevant to this Inquiry.
6.5 The ALRC acknowledges that when grandparents raise grandchildren, this may constitute a barrier to workforce participation in itself—though not a legal barrier. Grandparents may find their ‘employment and retirement plans thrown into chaos’, and be forced to give up work to look after the children. However, raising grandchildren may have a converse effect on grandparents’ participation in the paid workforce and they may need to continue working beyond their planned retirement date.
6.6 Raising grandchildren is productive work with significant benefits to children whose parents cannot care for them—and by extension, significant benefits to society. The benefits to children have been described as:
reducing separation trauma, providing greater stability, preserving significant attachments, reinforcing cultural identity, and preserving the family unit.
 The two primary family assistance payments that grandparents and other mature age non-parent carers may be eligible for are Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit. They may also be eligible for other payments including: Child Care Rebate; Baby Bonus; Maternity Immunisation Allowance; and Double Orphan Allowance.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Family Characteristics, Australia, Cat No 4442.0 (2009–10). Arrangements for care may be formal (when carers have legal responsibility for children), or informal (by private agreement): FaHCSIA, Family Assistance Guide <www.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/> at 30 August 2012, [126.96.36.199].
 E Baldock, ‘Grandparents Raising Grandchildren because of Alcohol and Other Drug Issues’ 76 Family Matters 70; B Horner and others, ‘Grandparent-headed Families in Australia’ (2007) 76 Family Matters 76, 77; COTA National Seniors, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (2003), prepared for the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, [3.3.1], [5.3], [6.5.2].
 Following the writing of this chapter, the ALRC received a submission from the Brotherhood of St Laurence which stated that the Age Pension should be included among the Centrelink payments for eligibility for Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance: Brotherhood of St Laurence, Submission 54. The ALRC notes that grandparents who are principal carers of grandchildren are eligible for an alternative benefit for certain child care fees, that is, Grandparent Child Care Benefit: A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) s 82A; A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (Cth) pt 3 div 4 subdiv CA; FaHCSIA, Family Assistance Guide <www.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/> at 30 August 2012, [2.6.8], see also [188.8.131.52].
 In the Issues Paper, the ALRC asked what changes, if any, should be made to family assistance and child support laws and policy to remove barriers to mature age participation in the workforce and other productive work: Questions 31 and 33. Relevant statutes include: A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth); A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (Cth); Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth) and the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth). The policy guides are: FaHCSIA, Family Assistance Guide <www.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/> at 30 August 2012 and Child Support Agency, The Guide—CSA’s Online Guide to the Administration of the New Child Support Scheme (2012) <www.guide.csa.gov.au> at 04 September 2012.
 COTA National Seniors, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (2003), prepared for the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, [6.2.2].
 Ibid, [6.2.2].
 B Horner and others, ‘Grandparent-headed Families in Australia’ (2007) 76 Family Matters 76, 77.