Key messages

  • Supporting optimal carer health, wellbeing and independence can help carers to continue in their care role.
  • Information and services are available to help Victorians who care for a partner, family member, relative or friend.
  • The Carers Recognition Act 2012 formally recognises carers and care relationships in Victoria.
  • The Support for Carers Program provides flexible and innovative in home, out of home, emergency carer respite, and other support services, for older carers, carers of older Victorians, and carers of younger people with dementia.
  • There are also support services for Victorians with dementia, a disability or a mental illness, and their families and carers.
  • The Home and Community Care Program also provides in home and centre based care. The Home and Community Care Program is a joint Commonwealth-state funded program.

Help for Victorian carers

The Department of Health and Human Services provides information and services for Victorians who perform the important and often demanding role of caring for a partner, family member, relative or friend.

Supporting people in care relationships: a resource for care providers contains examples of services that support carers and encourages service providers to develop innovative ways to support carers.

Carers Recognition Act

The Carers Recognition Act 2012 formally recognises the role of carers and care relationships in Victoria, including carers under 18 years of age. Carers can care for:

  • an older person with care needs
  • a person with a disability
  • a person with a mental illness
  • a person with an ongoing medical condition.

The Act applies to organisations funded by the Victorian Government that provide services for people in care relationships. Under the Act, services must respect people’s wishes, involve them in all decisions and account for people’s cultural identity and preferences. Under the Act, service providers must:

  • tell staff about the Act
  • ensure staff tell carers about the principles of the Act
  • use the care relationship principles to develop, provide or evaluate support and help for carers and people they care for
  • describe how they have met their obligations in their annual report.

An updated information kit on the Act - Supporting people in care relationships in Victoria is now available so that it’s easier for people to understand the support they may be eligible to receive.

You can download the resources available from Carers Recognition Act 2012

Support for Carers Program

The Support for Carers Program supports carers of older people, older carers and carers of younger people with dementia. Using a person-centred approach, the Support for Carers Program seeks to:

  • meet short term higher level needs
  • provide short term top up services not available in the generic service system
  • deliver innovative, flexible, timely and cost effective respite or other supports, goods and services.

The Support for Carers Program guidelines list the service providers, including service providers for Support for Carers of People with Dementia.

Support for Carers providers report annually to the department, using a template. Other useful resources include:
  • sample carer outcomes surveys
  • carer supports project report: timeliness and outcomes measures
  • carer complaint form.
For more information about Support for Carers Program, contact the department's local office nearest you. 

Other programs and services

Carers Victoria offers:

  • services to support Victorian carers
  • education, training and networking
  • an advocacy program to increase awareness of carers and their issues.

Call Carers Victoria on 1800 242 636 (free call) or visit the website.

The joint Commonwealth-state funded Home and Community Care Program provides:

  • in home respite
  • Planned Activity Group (PAG) day activities for frail older and younger people with a disability, which also provides respite for family carers
  • domestic assistance (home care) and personal care to help and support carers
  • activities and outings for older people with care needs.

Call your local council for more information. 

Disability Services Carer and Family Support Program provides and funds:

  • short term support such as respite
  • recreational programs
  • holiday programs and camps
  • supported community activities
  • long term support via Flexible Support Packages
  • Individual Support Packages.

See the Disability services carer and family support program

Respite Victoria has information about the respite services in Victoria.

Information for family and carers program supports family members, friends and carers of people with a mental illness.

There are also primary health and sub-acute programs that support Victorian carers. The Better Health Channel also provides information for carers.