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Service Agreement Information Kit for Funded Organisations

4.23 Carers Recognition Act

Department of Health and Human Services

Who does this policy apply to?

The Act applies to care support organisations including state government departments, local councils and public service care agencies and their sub-contractors that provide programs or services that affect people in care relationships.

Policy purpose

The purpose of the Act is to recognise, promote and value the role of people in care relationships. It formally acknowledges the important contribution that people in care relationships make to our community and the unique knowledge that carers hold of the person in their care.

Legislation and /or regulation

  • A carer is anyone who provides care to another person in a care relationship including carers under the age of 18 years. The Act does not apply to people employed to provide care services, or people who provide care as part of professional training or as a volunteer for an organisation.
  • A care relationship exists where the person being cared for is an older person, or a person with a disability, a mental illness or an ongoing medical condition. The Act also includes situations where someone is being cared for under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (external link, opens in a new window), in a foster, kinship or permanent care arrangement.

Organisation requirements

Care support organisations are required to take all practical measures to comply with the care relationship principles in the Act and to reflect them when developing and implementing support for people in care relationships.
Organisations must prepare a report on their compliance with the Act, to be included in their annual report. This may be as simple as a paragraph describing the activity undertaken over the year to comply with the Act.

The Carers Recognition Act 2012 (external link, opens in a new window)(the Act) came into effect on 1 July 2012. The purpose of the Act is to recognise, promote and value the role of people in care relationships. It formally acknowledges the important contribution that people in care relationships make to our community and the unique knowledge that carers hold of the person in their care.

For the purposes of the Act, a care relationship exists where the person being cared for is an older person, or a person with a disability, a mental illness or an ongoing medical condition. The Act also includes situations where someone is being cared for under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, in a foster, kinship or permanent care arrangement.

Care support organisations that must comply with the Act include state government departments, local councils and public service care agencies and their sub-contractors that provide programs or services that affect people in care relationships. These organisations are required to take all practical measures to comply with the care relationship principles in the Act and to reflect them when developing and implementing support for people in care relationships.

Examples of organisations funded by the Department of Health & Human Services that must comply with the Act include:

  • Registered Disability Services Organisations
  • Home based care providers including foster care, therapeutic foster care, kinship care and permanent care
  • Support for Carers Program providers
  • Home and Community Care Program providers
  • Public clinical mental health services, community managed mental health services and alcohol and drug service providers
  • Community Palliative Care and Statewide Palliative Care service providers

The Act also specifies that care support organisations must prepare a report on their compliance with the Act, to be included in their annual report. This may be as simple as a paragraph describing the activity undertaken over the year to comply with the Act.

Further information about the Act can be found at www.dhs.vic.gov.au/carersact (external link, opens in a new window). The information includes the fact sheet: Responsibilities and obligations of governments and organisations which provides guidance for organisations bound by the Act.