Summary

  • Respite options include in-home support, overnight or weekend facility-based support, recreation-based programs and camps and host family stays for children or young people with a disability.
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme provides tailored support and services for people with a disability, their families and carers. The NDIS is available in the Barwon area and will roll out in Victoria over three years from 1 July 2016.
  • Visit the National Disability Insurance Scheme website.
  • The National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) provides Commonwealth Government-subsidised access to a variety of respite options. Call the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222
  • Call Disability Intake and Response Services on 1800 783 783 for information about state government funded disability respite supports and services.
  • Ask if there are any fees for the respite care service you need. 
Respite supports and services aim to support people with a disability, their families and carers, to maintain positive family and carer relationships. Respite offers carers a chance to have a short break from their regular role.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is currently available in the Barwon area and will commence providing tailored support and services for people with a disability, their families and carers in other areas of the state from 1 July 2016.

Information on the NDIS roll-out and how to apply for support from the NDIS is available on the NDIS website.

People not currently receiving support can continue to apply for support from existing services until the NDIS becomes available in the local area. See information below on available services and supports.

Victorian Government respite supports and services

Respite support is available to carers of people who:

  • have an acquired brain injury
  • have an intellectual or physical disability
  • have a degenerative neurological condition
  • are aged between 6 and 64 years.

There are different types of respite supports and services available including:  

  • in-home support – a support worker will look after the person with a disability in their home, giving the regular carer a break
  • overnight or weekend facility-based services  
  • community-based respite – including one-on-one or group outings, social or leisure activities, camps and school holiday programs
  • host family – care in the home of a volunteer or host family for a child or young person with a disability (usually over a weekend).

Support might be available for a couple of hours, a day, a weekend, a week or more (although availability of respite supports and services does vary in different areas).

Emergency respite might also be available for carers who, unexpectedly, cannot undertake their care role – for example, if they need to go into hospital.

Contact the Disability Intake and Response Service for more information (call 1800 783 783, TTY 1800 008 149, 9 am – 5pm Monday to Friday).

Host family options for families caring for children or young people with a disability

In Victoria, the Interchange program provides the opportunity for short breaks by matching a family with a child or adolescent with a disability with a host family. Some Interchange services also provide recreational activities for children and adolescents with a disability, and support groups for parents.

Find information on Interchange and how to find a service.

Commonwealth Government National Respite for Carers Program

The National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) gives carers a break and pays for a variety of short-term stay services.

The organisation that will provide the short-term stay or respite service will assess the situation to work out what service is best for the person with a disability.

NRCP services may take place in:

  • the home
  • a community centre
  • the home of a friend or family member.

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres can be contacted by calling 1800 052 222

Paying for short-term stays and respite care

The Commonwealth Government helps pay for short-term stays for people with a disability and frail older people through the NRCP, but there is a cost for the support, which is means tested.

Talk to the organisation that will deliver the short-term stay or in-home support to work out how much it will cost. The fee should be set before the service starts.

Emergency short-term stays and respite

If an emergency short-term stay or in-home support is needed, the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre can offer emergency short-term stays or support in the home. The centre will assess care requirements and help to arrange short-term stays and emergency support in the local area.

For information about after-hours emergency support call the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 059 059, or the Disability Intake and Response Service on 1800 783 783.

Where to find respite supports and services

There are several ways to can find respite supports and services:

Call the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 to talk about services in the local area.

Visit Respite Victoria to locate services in the local area.

The site provides online information that helps families, carers and people with a disability to access accurate, current and useful information about respite and carer support services that matches their needs.

Visit the Interchange website to find respite support and social opportunities for children and young people with a disability.

Call the Victorian Disability Intake and Response Service at the Department of Health and Human Services on 1800 783 783 for information about respite supports and services available in the local area.

Visit the National Disability Insurance Scheme website.

More information

Disability services topics

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Better Health Channel - (need new cp)

Last updated: September 2015

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