Information about key policies, procedures and guidelines relating to service agreements
Aboriginal Private Rental Assistance Program guidelines
The Aboriginal Private Rental Assistance Program is a preventative intervention that provides holistic support to Aboriginal people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness to either maintain their existing private rental tenancy or to secure a new private rental tenancy.
It is available in a flexible manner, delivering support and practical assistance that is tailored to the needs of each household.
The Aboriginal Private Rental Assistance Program guidelines set out the department's expectations and minimum program requirements for agencies delivering the private rental assistance to Aboriginal households.
For more information on the program and provider contacts, visit the APRAP information sheet.
Additional child care subsidy (ACCS) (child wellbeing)
Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) (Child Wellbeing) is a Commonwealth Government subsidy that reduces the cost of child care being a barrier to children ‘at risk’ from either entering or remaining engaged with child care. Many parents and carers you work with may be eligible for ACCS (Child Wellbeing). This includes parents and carers caring for children who require care and protection under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, as well as vulnerable children who are in receipt of voluntary services or residing in informal kinship care arrangements.
Administration of medication in residential services
The Administration of medication video is based on the Residential Services Practice Manual (RSPM), Section 5.6.3 – administration of medication.
The video features staff and residents from a group home and is designed for new staff entering the sector and as a refresher for existing staff. It is recommended that house supervisors screen the video at a team meeting for all staff, including casuals, to update administering medication knowledge and practice. The video is available at:
The video includes practice information and presents a range of real-life scenarios, situations and required responses. It covers the following:
- The six ‘R'
- How to administer, record and store medication correctly
- What to do if a resident refuses medication
- How to manage dropped medication
- What to do if a resident has a high temperature.
From 8 September 2018 accredited foster and prospective permanent carers can be authorised to make specified decisions for children in their care using a standard instrument of authorisation (standard authorisation). The standard authorisation must be signed by the person in charge of an out of home care service, usually the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or equivalent.
The standard authorisation is specific to the carer and relevant to each child who comes into their care. It does not need to be reissued with each placement or if a new protection order is issued and does not require child protection approval, as opposed to the existing child specific model.
It is designed to be appropriate to children subject to an interim accommodation order or a protection order conferring parental responsibility to the Secretary, including family reunification orders. It may be provided to the carer at accreditation, first placement, or to existing carers. The specified issues include:
routine medical and dental care (including child immunisations)
education related activities within Victoria
photographs in relation to school or other educational, sporting or community activity
overnights stays with friends or siblings (where appropriate)
haircuts to maintain an existing style or healthy condition.
- Child Protection manual – authorising carers
- Letter templates, guidelines and an information sheet for carers are available in the 'other resources' section in My Agency.
Business continuity management
Business continuity management (BCM) ensures an organisation can safeguard people and critical operations, while also upholding community confidence by encouraging organisational resilience.
Business continuity refers to the capability of an organisation to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident.
This could include:
- supply chain disruption
- denial of access to the building
- loss of Information Technology systems and telecommunications
- loss of vital records (paper based and electronic)
- loss of key personnel and/or high absenteeism (e.g. Pandemic).
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing's approach to BCM
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing takes an all hazards approach to business continuity. This approach aims to identify the department’s dependency on key resources (personnel, information technology and facilities) and the impact on service delivery if they become unavailable.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Business Continuity Policy facilitates the development of consistent business continuity plans, clarifies roles and responsibilities of executives, managers and staff, and sets out the business priorities following a disruptive event.
Developing Business Continuity policies and procedures
All Victorian government agencies, including the Department of Families, Fairness, are advised to comply with the current best practice standards when developing their Business Continuity policies and procedures:
- AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management - Principles and guidelines
- International Standard ISO 22301 Societal security - Business continuity management system - Requirements
- International Standard ISO 22313 Societal security - Business continuity management system - Guidance.
All Victorian government agencies are also required to comply with the Victorian risk management framework and insurance management policy.
For further information or guidance on business continuity management, visit:
- The Business Continuity Institute: Good Practice Guidelines
- The Victorian Government health information: pandemic influenza
- Australian National Audit Office: Better practice guides
For assistance with business continuity management, email Health and Human Services Business Continuity at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Child protection manual
The Child protection manual provides essential practice guidance for professionals who work with vulnerable children, young people and families in Victoria.
The manual operationalises the legislative requirements of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and is structured to make it easy to find policies and procedures relating to:
- case planning
- quality of care concerns
- police history checks
- case transfers and more.
Community services quality governance framework
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing delivers, funds and regulates community services that have a real and tangible impact on people’s lives.
Every person in the community services system has a duty to keep the people who use our services safe from preventable harm. This is, and must be, our non-negotiable starting point when delivering positive outcomes for all Victorians.
The department, sector and service providers all have an important role to play in collectively preventing harm and delivering an evidence-informed approach to meet the unique needs of our community.
Effective quality governance is fundamental to consistently delivering safe, effective, connected and person-centred community services. Developed by the Community Services Quality and Safety Office, the Community Services Quality Governance Framework sets the objective of safe, effective, connected and person-centred community services for everybody, every time.
It outlines the principles, domains, roles and responsibilities of quality governance and includes measures of success, and indicators of poor quality governance. It is designed for use across all services delivered, funded and regulated by the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
The Framework aligns with Safer Care Victoria’s Clinical Governance Framework. This is important given that some organisations (e.g. mental health community support services, community health services, and community alcohol and other drug services) are in scope for both documents.
The use of data and evidence to drive critical inquiry and promote a culture of continuous learning and improvement is a key focus for implementation of the framework.
The Community Services Quality and Safety Office will focus on building the capacity of the community services system to embed quality governance. The Framework will be implemented across the service system in an iterative and supported manner, with all in scope organisations ensuring that a quality governance approach is in place.
The department’s complaints management policy is aimed at ensuring our services work for the people who use them.
We are committed to listening to and responding to feedback, including both compliments and complaints. This important data source informs the development and delivery of policies, programs and services that support and enhance the well-being of all Victorians.
Funded organisations must record and respond to feedback, including compliments and complaints regarding the services funded by the department.
Funded organisations should base their complaints policy on the principles of:
- visibility and accessibility
- improvement focus
- service excellence.
The department's Complaints management policy for funded organisations provides guidance to funded organisations on developing their complaints management processes.
The templates below are designed to support funded organisations to establish and manage their own complaints processes.
COVID-19 Rent Relief Grant
The Victorian Government has recently announced rent relief grants for Victorians experiencing rental hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The package provides a one off grant to help Victorian renters maintain safe, secure and stable accommodation.
Where can I find more information?
To be eligible for the grant you will need to have registered your revised rental agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria or gone through mediation, have less than $10,000 in savings and still be paying at least 30 per cent of your income in rent. Lodge your inquiry with Consumer Affairs Victoria.
If you have lodged your new rental agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria, you can apply for a Rent Relief Grant online.
If you need to contact the department about your grant application please email RentRelief@dffh.vic.gov.au
For the latest information and health advice about COVID-19, visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) page on the DHHS website.
Disability support register guidelines
People with a confirmed need for disability support must be registered with the Disability support register (DSR) to be eligible for ongoing disability support. The DSR is a database of all the people with a confirmed need for funding to purchase supports that meet their disability needs or for supported accommodation.
The Disability support register guidelines explain how an application for ongoing disability support is registered, assessed and considered for approval.
Emergency preparedness policy
The Health and Human Services Sector Emergency Preparedness Policy supports the health and human services sector to maximise the health, wellbeing and safety of Victorians who access their services before, during and after emergencies.
This policy assists the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (the department) and the sector to prepare for and respond to emergencies, by defining the department’s and sector’s emergency related responsibilities.
All funded service providers are required to have an emergency management plan and undertake emergency preparedness activities that are appropriate for the clients and the services they receive.
The policy and a set of supporting materials are available for download from the providers.dffh.vic.gov.au site.
Fire risk management
An organisation entering into a service agreement must have in place an appropriate system to protect people under its care. For this reason, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing is keen to clarify its role and the role of organisations in protecting the department's staff and clients from fire risk.
A critical part of this commitment is the development of a Fire Risk Management Strategy. Fire risk management procedures and guidelines have been developed to aid compliance with the department and the Director of Housing's obligations for fire risk management in buildings.
First Supports are provided by community service organisations and Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to statutory kinship placements expected to last three months or longer.
Child Protection makes a referral to First Supports who will complete the Kinship care comprehensive Part B assessment, provide an average of $1,000 of brokerage and access to up to 110 hours family services support.
The First Supports program guidelines provide further information about First Supports.
Home-based care program requirements
Home-based care is provided by approved carers in their own home to children and young people who are unable to live at home with their family because of a significant risk of harm or abuse.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing funds Community service organisations to manage home-based care programs.
The Home-based care program requirements outline the minimum practice necessary to ensure a consistent approach to high quality services delivery.
Foster care spot audits
The term 'home-based care' includes all forms of foster care. In April 2017, the department commenced spot audits of organisations providing foster care in Victoria. The audits provide another mechanism to foster continuous improvement for organisations managing foster care placements.
This fact sheet provides a brief overview of the spot audit process.
Human Services Regulator
The Human Services Regulator (the regulator) regulates human services to minimise harm and to protect the safety and rights of children, young people and adults.
It has regulatory oversight across a broad range of human services throughout Victoria, including those provided or funded by the department. Regulated sectors include out-of-home care services and carers, youth services, family violence services, community services providers, supported residential accommodation and services for people with disabilities.
The regulator uses an evidence-led, risk-based approach to regulating in-scope organisations. It is collaborative, accountable, proportionate, effective and clear.
The regulator’s activities include:
- administering standards
- promoting good practice
- monitoring and enforcing compliance with relevant laws, regulations and standards
- building relationships.
To find out more, visit the department’s Human Services Regulator page.
L17 Family violence portal
Family violence referrals and reports by Victoria Police are made through the Victoria Police Risk Assessment Management Report (L17) to child protection and community service organisations.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has worked in partnership with Victoria Police, Department of Justice and Regulations and community service organisations to streamline L17 referrals and reports by creating the L17 Family Violence Portal for child protection and family violence outreach services.
An online training course has been developed to provide a comprehensive overview of the L17 Family Violence Portal.
- L17 Family violence portal eBusiness registration guide
- L17 Family violence portal operation manual
- L17 Family violence portal user guide
- Privacy agreement for use of the L17 family violence portal
- Privacy impact assessment
- Terms and conditions for use of the L17 Family violence portal
For assistance with the L17 Family violence portal, email L17Portal@dffh.vic.gov.au
Lead tenant program requirements
Lead tenant is an out-of-home care placement option providing medium-term accommodation and support to young people aged 16-18 years, who have been placed away from the care of their families by Child Protection.
Lead tenant programs provide a safe and semi-independent living environment in which young people are supported by one or two approved adult volunteer lead tenant/s, who provide day-to-day guidance and mature role modelling, supported by professional staff. The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing funds Community service organisations (CSOs) to provide lead tenant programs.
The Program requirements for lead tenant services in Victoria outline the minimum practice requirements for lead tenant programs for CSO staff, to ensure a consistent approach to high quality service delivery.
Leaving Care has a range of services and supports to assist young people, aged 16 to 21 years of age, to transition from care services to independence.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing funds providers to deliver programs to young people leaving care including: Better Futures and Home Stretch. These programs rolled out state wide from November 2019.
Better Futures was previously referred to as Leaving care, post care support, information and referral, mentoring, brokerage, Aboriginal leaving care and Springboard.
Better Futures supports care leavers by engaging with young people and their support networks, including case managers and care teams, early in their transition from care.
Better Futures supports the young person to have an active voice in their transition planning, and provides individualised supports across a range of life areas including: health and wellbeing, housing and living skills, education, employment, and community and cultural connections.
Better Futures includes: case work support, Information and advice and flexible funding.
To be eligible for Better Futures, a young person must be 15 and 9 months, be in care services (out-of-home care) on a Care by Secretary Order, a Long-Term Care Order or a Family Reunification Order. All eligible young people are referred by their case manager to their local Better Futures provider.
Young people aged 18 years and 21 are eligible for post-care support through Better Futures.
Support available through the Better Futures program is provided based on if the young person is in care or post care.
Home Stretch provides young people in care with a more gradual and supported transition to independent living. Through Home Stretch, young people, and their kinship and foster carers will have the option of the young person remaining with their carer up to the age of 21 years, supported by an allowance.
Young people leaving residential care will be eligible for an allowance to support them with their housing costs up to 21 years of age.
Home Stretch includes case work support and flexible funding delivered by the Better Futures worker, to facilitate the young person’s access to: health and wellbeing, housing and living skills, education, employment, and community and cultural connections and mentoring.
Occupational health and safety
In Victoria, workplace health and safety is governed by a system of laws, regulations and compliance codes which set out the responsibilities of employers and workers to ensure that safety is maintained at work.
Worksafe Victoria is the occupational health and safety arm of the Victorian WorkCover Authority, a statutory authority of the Victorian state government. It takes the lead role in the promotion and enforcement of health and safety in Victorian workplaces.
Policy and funding guidelines
The Policy and funding guidelines (PFG) detail the parameters that funded organisations are expected to work within.
Private rental assistance program requirements
Private rental assistance is a preventative intervention that provides holistic support to households vulnerable or at risk of becoming homeless. It is available in a flexible manner, delivering support and practical assistance that is tailored to the needs of each household.
The private rental assistance guidelines set out the department's expectations and minimum program requirements for agencies delivering private rental assistance.
For further information, contact your local area private rental assistance program provider.
Records management for funded agencies
A well maintained records management system supports the delivery of quality client-centred services.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing in conjunction with the community services sector and the Public Records Office of Victoria have produced a range of records management fact sheets and guides for funded agencies.
RentAssist bond loan
The Director of Housing’s RentAssist bond loan program aims to assist low income earners to access accommodation in the private rental market, and through housing associations, assist them in meeting the upfront costs associated with a new tenancy. The program is administered by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing which assess all applicants’ eligibility for a bond against the bond loan eligibility criteria.
From 9 February 2019, bond loan applications can be lodged online.
Who is eligible?
To be approved for a bond loan, applicants will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Applicants are a permanent Australian resident.
- The share of rent is less than 55 per cent of an applicant’s gross weekly income.
- Applicants do not own or part-own a house, flat or unit.
- Applicants meet the bond loan income and asset eligibility limits.
To find out more, visit the department's bond loan eligibility page.
How do I access the bond online application?
The bond online application is accessed through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing eBusiness Portal. If you already have an eBusiness login for My Agency, or another application, you can simply add RentAssist bond loan application to your existing account.
Staff who need to complete applications will require an eBusiness account and EPRIN (a unique number which identifies the organisation). The organisation must have an eBusiness account before staff can register for their own accounts. The steps for registering and accessing the application are outlined in the RentAssist bond loan eBusiness registration guide.
For policy questions about bond loan eligibility and operational guidelines, phone 1800 290 574.
Funded organisations requiring assistance with using the online application, phone 1800 630 738.
Residential care services program requirements
Residential care services provide 24 hour care in staffed residential settings for children and young people who are unable to live at home with their family because of a significant risk of harm or abuse.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing funds Community service organisations to provide residential care services.
The program requirements for Residential care services outline the minimum practice requirements for residential care services for Community service organisations staff to ensure a consistent approach to high quality services delivery.
A restrictive intervention is an action that is used to restrict the rights or freedom of movement of a person with a disability. It includes chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint and seclusion.
A disability service provider must comply with Part 7 of the Disability Act, 2006 about the monitoring and reporting of the use of restrictive interventions.
Restrictive Interventions Self-Evaluation Tool (RISET)
The RISET is an online learning tool for people with an interest in restrictive interventions. The tool is a survey that guides users through important information to help them understand when a restrictive intervention has occurred.
To find out more about RISET, visit the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Disability workers training page.
Rough sleeping action plan program guidelines
Victoria’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan Guidelines (guidelines) have been developed to outline the objectives and requirements of the two program areas: assertive outreach and supportive housing teams. The guidelines will ensure quality and consistency in the delivery and practice response across the state.
The guidelines contain the program objectives and outcomes, service components, program governance and progress reporting.
Social services regulation reform
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing is making changes to the way that social services are regulated.
The social services regulation reform will establish a modern and fit-for-purpose regulatory framework. The new system will establish a single set of Social Service Standards and a single registration process for hundreds of community organisations, as well as an independent regulator, with a statutory office holder to be appointed.
Services covered will include family violence, homelessness, Supported Residential Services, and disability services not within the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It will also oversee children youth and families services.
This reform will better support safe service delivery and service users’ human rights, including freedom from harm, neglect and abuse. It will also provide a separation from policy design, funding models and service agreement management and strengthen the regulation of department-delivered services.
New Social Services Standards will form the foundation of the regulatory framework. These will replace the current Human Services Standards and the Accommodation and Personal Support Standards. The new regulator replaces the current Human Services Regulator and provides decision-making separation between the responsibilities of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and decisions exercised by the regulator.
The regulator will be required to provide education and guidance to service providers and must make decisions that are intelligence-led, proportionate and minimise regulatory burden.
The reforms will be phased in from 1 July 2023 to give time for the sector to transition to the new arrangements.
- Social Services Regulation Reform Information Sheet (September 2021 update)
- Social Services Regulation Reform slide deck
If you have any questions or would like further information, contact email@example.com
Targeted care packages
Targeted care packages (TCP) were introduced by the Victorian Government in 2015 to enable a child or young person's transition from residential care to an alternative living arrangement. TCPs enable appropriate supports to be developed to prevent the entry of a child or your person to residential care.
The TCP implementation manual outlines the operational processes and decision-making points for the development and implementation of targeted care packages (packages) for children and young people in Victoria.
The TCP guidelines provide information for departmental staff and service providers involved in the development, assessment, approval and implementation of TCPs.
Key department contacts - Targeted Care Packages coordinators
North Division firstname.lastname@example.org
South Division email@example.com
East Division firstname.lastname@example.org
West Division email@example.com
Frequently asked questions
Victorian housing register
On 18 September 2015, Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Martin Foley announced the creation of a housing register to consolidate all social housing applications into a single register.
The Victorian housing register (VHR) is being designed and implemented in partnership between the community housing sector, the homelessness services sector, including family violence, and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
Whole of Victorian Government contracts
The Victorian Government has negotiated a range of favourable Whole of Victorian Government contracts for the purchase of goods and services.
Each contract has specific rules associated with it. It is important to read the terms and conditions carefully before entering into a contract. For some contracts, you may be obliged to use the contracted supplier(s) for the duration of the contract. The supplier(s) may not be obliged to provide the goods and services to you under certain circumstances.
Advantages of using Whole of Government contracts
- access to the buying power of a very large group
- suppliers are selected using rigorous processes to ensure they meet the Victorian Government procurement objective of value for money
- supplier performance levels are agreed in advance for example customer service levels, accuracy and timeliness of transaction data such as invoices and provision of reports in agreed format and on time
- contracted suppliers can be engaged with relative ease
- purchasing processes have been streamlined to be as simple as possible
- price and performance of suppliers is monitored for continuous improvement
- availability of the required goods or services may be more assured
- monthly sales, performance and usage reports are often an agreed service provided by suppliers
- processes for resolving issues of under-performance or pricing and other disagreements are in place
- compared to ad hoc purchasing, the option of paying invoices monthly for some contracts can increase transactional efficiencies.
Visit the Victorian Government Purchasing Board for extensive information on State Purchasing Contracts.