September 18, 2018

Knowledge is power, and this is never more true than when it comes to accessing financial support for childcare.

There are a range of New Zealand subsidies available to help families of children in care at every age, so it pays to find out if you qualify. How much you’ll receive depends on the size of your family, your income, your work hours and how many hours a week your child is in care.

If you’re already part of the sKids family or are considering enrolling your child in our Before or After School Care, Holiday or Specialty Programmes, this blog is for you. In it, we look at who qualifies for subsidies, how to apply and where to get support through the process.

sKids offers care for children aged 5-13 and is the largest private out of school care provider in the country, with 170+ sites. The driving force behind our programmes is that all kiwi families should have access to quality childcare. As part of this we want to make sure parents are aware of and can access relevant government subsidies.

The OSCAR (Out of School Care and Recreation) subsidy is particularly relevant for our families. It provides payments for children aged 5 to 13 years (or up to 18 years if they receive the Child Disability Allowance). It helps towards the costs of Before School and After School Care for up to 20 hours a week, and School Holiday Programmes for up to 50 hours a week.

Subsidies are not guaranteed to all families, but you may be able to a subsidy if you’re:

  • Working, studying or on an approved training course or
  • Involved in an activity that Work and Income has asked you to do or
  • A shift worker who works nights or
  • Seriously ill or disabled or
  • Caring for a child in hospital or for a child you get the Child Disability Allowance In most cases you can’t get the OSCAR Subsidy if the child’s other parent or caregiver can take care of the child.

Approved OSCAR programmes include:

  • Before School
  • After School
  • Holiday Programmes and Camps

Childcare assistance starts from the date the care starts (or from the date you apply if you apply after they start). All subsidies are paid directly to the childcare provider.

You can apply now through Work and Income – before your child’s first day. This way, you’ll get a subsidy as soon as your child starts a programme. This is especially important for school holidays.

To find out how much you could be entitled to, click here or the 2018 OSCAR subsidy rates.

If you are interested in finding out if you are eligible for a child care subsidy or would like to apply, visit your local Work and Income office. Alternatively, you can go to and search using the key word Childcare or call 0800 559

sKids can also support you through this process. Talk to one of our staff — we’re always happy to help.

July 17, 2018











Deciding whether to put your child into out of school care can be difficult and emotionally
charged. Due to a return to the workforce, change in circumstances or simply lifestyle
demands, you might be considering including your child in before or after school care or
holiday programmes.

Every parent wants the best for their child, but this goes hand-in-hand with wondering
whether your choices are the right ones.  For many parents, the guilt can be consuming as
you wonder whether they would be happier and better off if you stayed at home with them.
In fact, the opposite is true. The research is clear: children in quality programmes thrive in
every way, reaping benefits that are long-lasting. Through the interactions they have in this
positive environment, they’ll learn the skills they need for school, higher education and

So throw away your parent guilt and start celebrating your child’s development.

In this blog we explore the five top reasons to send your child to a great out of school care

1. Improves academic performance
Before and after school programmes boost academic performance, according to research.
One such study is The Havard Family Research Project, which involved 10 years of
research on after school programmes and implications for the future. It found students who
take part have shown a significant improvement in test scores, particularly in maths and
reading and are more engaged learners. This is believed to be a result of them having the
opportunity to try new skills through hands-on, experimental activities.

2. Grows emotional development
A study by Demircan & Demir (2014) found children who take part in programmes are
more emotionally adjusted than their peers and have been found to be less lonely than
those in self or sibling care. Through being in a large group, children learn to adapt to
different situations, as they arise. This gives them an opportunity to also learn about
themselves, while developing self-esteem and self-confidence.

3. Encourages relationship building
Children will have the chance to meet and build positive friendships with other children
their age, giving them a head start on this vital skill (Hahn,1994). Learning about
relationship-building at a young age is something they’ll carry with them throughout life.

4. Prevents risky behaviours
Children in these programmes are exposed to a healthy environment and role models,
while engaged in positive learning. Research shows this lessens the likelihood they’ll find
themselves in troubling situations later in life, such as drug use and other criminal
behaviour (Mahoney, Lord, & Carryl, 2005).

5. Better health
Before and after school programmes give children the opportunity to take part in fun
physical activities, that promote a healthy, active lifestyle. According to research, these
programmes contribute to greater knowledge about exercise and nutrition, setting them on
the path to a lifetime of good health and wellness (Mahoney, Lord, & Carryl, 2005).

Today’s before and after school programmes, and holiday programmes do so much more
than simply keep your kids safe. They offer an exciting learning environment that will keep
them wanting to come back for more. Research confirms the academic, social, emotional,
prevention and health benefits they gain will make a lasting, positive difference to their