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Bushfires 2020: Information for parents and carers

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Government funding to support families and schools affected by the 2020 bushfires

The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments jointly announced $15.95 million in funding to help families and schools affected by the bushfires.

  • $650,000 for the Bushfire Kindergarten Fee Subsidy
  • $5 million to extend the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund to all eligible primary and secondary school students
  • $4 million to boost mental health support for the government and non-government schools, including additional psychologists and social workers
  • $3.8 million to establish a Trauma Recovery Team to provide trauma response support to affected schools and kindergarten services
  • $2 million for State Schools' Relief Getting Kids Back to School fund
  • $500,000 to provide grants to bushfire affected schools.

Schools have a responsibility to support parents who are facing hardship. Learn more about help with school costs and fees.

You may be eligible for Additional Child Care SubsidyExternal Link if your child misses child care due to the bushfires. This is arranged through the Australian Government. For more information about the subsidy phone 1800 112 812.

Read more: Supporting Victorian schools through bushfire recoveryExternal Link .

Accessing emergency payments and financial help

People who live in the council areas of East Gippsland or Towong can access emergency payments. More information about the Personal Hardship Assistance Program is available on the VicEmergency: Financial assistanceExternal Link and the DFFH EmergenciesExternal Link websites.

Counselling and mental health support

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

You can also get support from:

Supporting your child's mental health

Some activities that may help your child's mental health after experiencing a traumatic event include:

  • provide a stable, predictable routine or explain what will happen next where routines need to change
  • plan pleasurable activities, play in preferred areas or with favourite toys
  • find opportunities to connect with family and peers
  • protect them from exposure to media coverage and adult conversations about the emergency
  • allow children to ask questions and use developmentally appropriate explanations
  • if children choose to recount an event through talking or play, listen to their experience away from others who may be affected
  • if you are concerned, seek support through local health care and relief services in your area.

Resources to support children

Supporting schools affected by the 2020 bushfires

The best way you can help is by donating money. Donate through the National Bushfire Disaster AppealExternal Link or through any Bendigo BankExternal Link .

The Victorian government, through Bushfire Recovery VictoriaExternal Link , has partnered with not-for-profit organisation GIVITExternal Link , connecting those who have goods and services to offer with those who need them, in a private and safe way.

The GIVIT virtual warehouse connects donors with charities and other organisations supporting bushfire affected communities and individuals. The GIVIT platform is free to use and makes giving easy by allowing you to see exactly what is required by bushfire affected communities.

Registering goods and services

GIVIT manages a virtual warehouse through which donors can register and list items they are wanting to donate, and schools can register and search through what is being offered and secure the items or services directly with the donor:

Otherwise, contact the Bushfire Recovery Coordination Group via email - providing your agreement for the Recovery team to share your contact details with the GIVIT team, who will then contact you directly.

For more information, refer to the GIVIT frequently asked questionsExternal Link .


At this stage, offers from volunteers are not required. As affected areas work through their needs, more information on opportunities will become available.

Emergency information for parents during a bushfire event

For the most up to date emergency information on when to respond to incidents, visit VicEmergencyExternal Link .

VicEmergency also has information on:

Hotline for parents

For information on affected schools and services, call the department hotline on 1800 338 663.

Select menu item 1. Available 8.30am to 5pm.

School, child care and kindergarten closures

Check our emergency closuresExternal Link page to see if your school, child care or kindergarten is closed.

The department is in regular contact with your school's principal about the safety of the school. You can contact your principal for more information.

For early childhood services (including child care and kindergartens), our regulators will be in regular contact with the service. They will assess whether the service is safe to open. Contact your early childhood service directly for more information.

School bus route closures

We recommend you check the emergency closuresExternal Link page regularly as it will be updated with the status of school bus routes in impacted communities.

Reviewed 31 January 2022

Department of Education and Training

Contact us

Bushfire Recovery Coordination Group

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