Bushfires 2020: Information for parents and carers

Emergency information

For the most up to date emergency information, visit Emergency Vic.

Emergency Vic also has information on:

School, child care and kindergarten closures

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

At this stage, all schools are planning to open for the first day of Term 1. The Department will be 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.

Help with fees and uniforms

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

State Schools' Relief can also help with uniforms and school materials for students going to government schools. 

You may be eligible for additional Child Care Subsidy if your child misses child care due to the bushfires. This is arranged through the Australian Government. Call 1800 112 812  for more information.

General financial help

If you live in the council areas of East Gippsland or Towong, you can access emergency payments. See Emergency Vic: Financial assistance for details.

You can also visit a relief centre to discuss what options are available to you.

Counselling

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 contact:

Supporting your child

Some actions you may wish to consider to assist your child 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. The Bridie’s Tree recovery suite is specifically designed for children aged 0 to 5.
  • 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.

The Emerging Minds Community Trauma Toolkit includes tips for helping children through a disaster or traumatic event.

Donations to affected schools

Right now we kindly ask you to not donate goods to schools. Relief centres in the area are overwhelmed with goods donations and this is affecting critical tasks.

The best way you can help is by donating money. Donate through the Bushfire Disaster Appeal, or through any Bendigo Bank.

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