The Carers Recognition Act came into effect on 1 July 2012 and formally recognises and values the role of carers and the importance of care relationships in the Victorian community.
The Act is supported by The Victorian charter supporting people in care relationships.
The Act includes a set of principles about the significance of care relationships, and special obligations for State Government agencies, local councils, and other organisations that interact with people in care relationships.
The Act defines a carer as someone who provides care to another person, and includes carers under the age of 18. Carers can provide care for a person who:
- has a disability;
- has a mental illness;
- has an ongoing medical condition; or
- is an older person with care needs.
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.
Principles relating to carers
A carer should:
- › be respected and recognised:
– as an individual with their own needs
– as a carer
– as someone with special knowledge of the person in their care
- be supported as an individual and as a carer including during changes to the care relationship
- be recognised for their efforts and dedication as a carer and for the social and economic contribution to the community arising from their role as a carer
- have their views and cultural identity taken into account, together with the views, cultural identity, needs and best interests of the person for whom they care, in matters relating to the care relationship. This includes when decisions are made that impact on the carer and the care relationship
- have their social wellbeing and health recognised in matters relating to the care relationship
- have considered in decision making the effect of being a carer on their participation in employment and education.
Principles relating to people being cared for
A person being cared for in a care relationship should:
- be respected, recognised and supported as an individual and as a person in a care relationship, including during changes to the care relationship
- have their views taken into account, together with their needs, cultural identity and best interests, in how they are cared for
- have their changing needs considered and taken into account in how they are cared for.
Principles relating to care relationships
A person in a care relationship should:
- have their care relationship respected and honoured
- have their views considered in the assessment, planning, delivery, management and review of services affecting them and the care relationship.
What organisations are affected by the Act?
The Act applies to organisations that are responsible for developing or providing policies, programs or services that affect people in care relationships including:
- state government departments
- local government authorities (councils within the meaning of the Local Government Act 1989)
- organisations funded by government.
These organisations include funded care organisations providing home-based care services for children and young people in foster, kinship and permanent care arrangements.
The Act does not apply to family day care services, children’s services, education and care services, preschool programs and schools.