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Guide to Councils

Community services

Councils provide a range of support services and facilities to assist individual people and groups in their municipality.

These services are often funded through partnerships with state and/or federal governments. However, some services may incur a fee to offset costs.

The following are examples of services often provided by councils. It is advisable that you contact your local council for information about the precise services available in your area.

Family and young children’s services

Health services, day care facilities and playgroups are council services that assist parents in raising their children and maintaining their wellbeing.

Council services for families and young children may include:

  • child care facilities
  • preschools
  • maternal and child health facilities
  • toy libraries
  • family day care
  • playgroups
  • kindergartens
  • school bus programs
  • neighbourhood and community houses
  • school holiday programs.

Early childhood education and care – Long day care

Long day care and integrated children’s centres provide education and care for children from birth to school age. Services generally operate for at least 10 hours a day from Monday to Friday, for a minimum of 48 weeks each year.

Many of these services also offer a kindergarten program that is integrated into the education and care program.

Early childhood education and care – Family day care

Currently over 50% of councils provide Family Day Care (FDC). This is a network of educators who provide flexible care and developmental activities in their own homes for other people’s children.

School holiday/vacation care programs

Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) is usually associated with schools and caters to primary school children up to the age of 13. Most OSHC services are operated by community-based or private organisations. Some local governments operate vacation care programs during school holidays and based at local schools.

Typical hours for OSHC services are:

  • before school commences – from 6:30am to 9.00am
  • after school – 3.00pm to 6.00pm
  • vacation care from 7.00am to 6.00pm each week day.

Kindergarten programs

Children attend kindergarten in the year before they start school, usually when they are four years old. However, some services and centres also offer kindergarten programs for three-year-old children.

You can enrol your child in a funded kindergarten program in a variety of settings, including children’s centres, long day care centres, community kindergartens, independent schools and a small number of government schools. These programs are managed by a range of organisations that include local government, parent committees, community organisations, private operators, independent schools and some government schools.

About 50 councils facilitate or support kindergarten central enrolment for their municipalities. This usually covers all the available kindergarten programs in the municipality.

Playgroups

Playgroups encourage children to learn and develop through play. They also provide the opportunity for parents to meet each other and share parenting skills and experiences. Most of them are managed by the parents who attend the group. Parents are responsible for the care of their own children when attending the playgroup.

Some families have access to supported playgroups run by a paid worker. Funded by the state government, these playgroups aim to support disadvantaged families and children who may not normally have the opportunity to go to a playgroup.

Youth services

Council provide a range of services for young people in their municipality. These support their growth and development and provide an avenue for them to meet other young people in the area.

Some of the youth services that local council may provide are:

  • counselling services
  • drug and alcohol services
  • skate parks
  • youth-oriented festivals
  • neighbourhood houses
  • sports programs
  • youth-based advisory councils.

Aged services

Local councils recognise the important role that elderly residents play in their municipality.

Councils assist the elderly and their families through a number of services, such as:

  • senior citizens’ groups and centres
  • delivered meals services
  • home and personal care services
  • respite care
  • community transport.

Disability services

Councils want to ensure that services are accessible to all members of the community. They provide programs and services that assist people with a disability to participate in community activities. Council services for people with a disability may include:

  • support services for people with a disability
  • delivered meals services
  • personal care assistance
  • community buses
  • accessible arts and recreational programs.

Home and Community Care (HACC)

The Home and Community Care (HACC) program provides services for older and frail people with moderate, severe or profound disabilities as well as younger people with moderate, severe or profound disabilities, and their unpaid carers.

HACC services provide basic support and maintenance to people living at home to help avoid premature or inappropriate admission to long-term residential care.

HACC is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments. In Victoria, local councils also contribute significant funds and resources to HACC services.

Local government supports the development of HACC program by co-ordination of planning for social support activities to meet diverse needs, infrastructure requirements and co-ordination of effort.

Local government councils provide a range of HACC services, such as:

  • HACC Assessment services
  • delivered meals services
  • domestic assistance services
  • personal care services
  • respite care.

Each council's performance for Home and Community Care can be viewed and compared in the Compare Councils section of this site. To do this, click on the service area icon, select your council from the filter, then use the checkbox to select three additional similar councils for comparison from the list.

HACC and the National Disability Insurance Scheme

From July 2016, as part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, agreement between the state and commonwealth governments, management of the HACC Program will be split. Services for people aged 65 and over will be directly managed by the Commonwealth Government (through the Commonwealth Home Support Program).

Services for people aged under 65 will be funded and managed solely by the Victorian Government, until the National Disability Insurance Scheme is in full operation. In managing the HACC transition, the Commonwealth and Victorian governments have agreed to work together to retain the benefits of Victoria’s HACC system.

Further information

For information about the Home and Community Care program in Victoria, contact your local council. You may also contact the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) at hacc@dhhs.vic.gov.au or contact your DHHS Regional Program and Service Advisor.

The Commonwealth Department of Social Services website at dss.gov.au/chsp has the latest information on the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, including Frequently Asked Questions and a number of fact sheets. For further enquiries, please email CHSP@dss.gov.au