Specialist disability services

People with a disability need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for specialist disability services.

Specialist disability supports are available to assist people with a disability who require case management, therapy, or behaviour support.

Specialist supports are also available for people with a disability who are involved in the criminal justice system.

  • Behaviour support services

    Behaviour support services aim to maximise the quality of life for people with a disability by reducing their behaviours of concern.

    We fund behaviour support services for children, adolescents and adults with a disability. Behaviour support services deliver systematic, environmental, educational and other therapeutic strategies to prevent the occurrence of behaviours of concern.

    What are behaviours of concern?

    Behaviours of concern are behaviours that are a barrier to a person participating in and contributing to their community and pose a risk to the health and safety of a person and the community. This can include aggressive, self injurious, anti social or dangerous behaviours.

    Who provides the behaviour support services?

    Behaviour support services are delivered by practitioners via departmental divisions, community service organisations or private practitioners. Within the department, practitioners includes a range of staff with tertiary qualifications in relevant disciplines such as:

    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Social work
    • Speech pathology
    • Staff who have relevant behavioural training and experience.

    Behaviour support services teams (sometimes know as specialist services teams or behaviour intervention services teams) are committed to the use of non-aversive techniques that maximise quality of life and reduce behaviours of concern.

    Who can get assistance

    Assistance may be available to:

    • People that meet the criteria as under the Disability Act 2006
    • Family members of people with disabilities
    • Carers of people with disabilities
    • Support providers.

    How to get assistance

    Contact your disability Intake and Response Service for further information on eligibility criteria and referral pathways.

    Positive Practice Framework

    The Positive Practice Framework is a resource for behaviour support services practitioners and other interested professionals. It presents a practice model that brings together current research, knowledge and practice strategies, and reflects the legislative requirements of the Disability Act 2006. For more information, see Specialist disability support on our Service Providers website

  • Case management

    Case management support is tailored to the individual needs of a person with a disability and includes the needs of family and carers.

    What's the aim of case management?

    Disability case management services aim to assist people with disabilities to become more independent and active in community life.

    What does it involve?

    Case managers establish a positive collaborative relationship with the person, and their support network, such as family members. They then assist the person to identify, link with and organise the supports they need to deal with problems and achieve their goals.

    Case management involves a person-directed planning process. Supports accessed through case management will be suited to individual needs and the needs of family and carers. For more information, see Individual support package.

    Who can get assistance

    You may get assistance if you meet the criteria as determined under the Disability Act 2006.

    How to get assistance

    Contact your regional disability Intake and Response Service to find out more information about this program and how to apply.

  • Criminal justice services

    You need to contact your regional disability Intake and Response Service to access support related to your involvement in the criminal justice system.

    We provide and fund services for people with a disability who are, or at risk of becoming, involved in the criminal justice system. Supports are aimed at preventing offending and minimising the risk of re-offending behaviour, as well as protecting and promoting the rights and responsibilities of people with a disability who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

    Who can get assistance

    You may get assistance if you meet the criteria as determined under the Disability Act 2006. This act is available from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.

    How to get assistance

    Contact your regional disability Intake and Response Service to find out more information about criminal justice services and how to apply.

    Other services

    Disability Forensic Assessment and Treatment Service

    This service, formerly known as the State-wide Forensic Service, is funded by the department. It delivers time-limited treatment, support and residential services for people with a disability who display high-risk anti-social behaviour and are involved, or at risk of being involved, in the criminal justice system.

    Disability Assessment and Treatment Service Framework

    We have developed the framework to ensure delivery of timely and quality services, and to support effective monitoring and accountability of services. The framework defines service requirements and presents a service description and background information about the service.

    Criminal Justice - Intellectual Disability

    The department can help people with an intellectual disability by offering support and services. For those in contact with the criminal justice system, this support would aim to prevent the person from breaking the law.

  • Individual customised therapy

    Access to therapy support for people with a disability will depend on identifying specific allied health needs.

    Therapy is a specialist support based on individual planning and identification of needs. Therapy includes a range of allied health programs, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy, to assist you to live as independently as possible in the community.

    Who can get assistance

    Assistance is available to:

    • People who meet the criteria as determined under the Disability Act 2006. This act is available from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website
    • Family members of people with a disability
    • Carers of people with a disability.

    How to get assistance

    Contact your regional disability Intake and Response Service to find out more information about this program and how to apply.

  • Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative

    The Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative is often referred to as MACNI.

    MACNI provides a time-limited service response for people aged 16 years of age and older who have multiple and complex needs.

    Through MACNI, each eligible person has a personalised care plan developed to address the person’s needs and goals, aimed at stabilising housing, health and wellbeing, safety and social connectedness.

    A care plan coordinator is also appointed to support the care plan’s implementation and monitoring.

    Participation in MACNI is voluntary. A person can decide to discontinue MACNI services at any time.

    What is the aim of MACNI?

    MACNI aims to provide a coordinated service response for people with multiple and complex needs to:

    • Stabilise housing, health, social connection and safety
    • Pursue planned and consistent therapeutic goals for each individual
    • Provide a platform for long-term engagement in the service system.

    Who can get assistance

    People supported by MACNI have to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Human Services (Complex Needs) Act 2009. People must be 16 years of age and older, appear to have two or more of either mental illness, substance use, intellectual impairment, and/or an acquired brain injury, and need and will benefit from coordinated care.

    Anyone can make a referral to MACNI, for example:

    • Individuals for themselves
    • Family members or significant others
    • New and existing service providers working with the person

    What does it involve

    A person and their worker discuss whether MACNI eligibility and support is relevant.

    If MACNI support sounds best for the person, then the person or one of their workers can make contact to have their eligibility considered.

    If a person is eligible for MACNI, another worker will work with the person and involved services to find out what the person needs are and how they can be best supported.

    A MACNI care plan will be developed that describes the things the person wants support with and which services will help them to meet their goals.

    A new worker, a care plan coordinator, will work with a person’s current workers to make sure the care plan is put in place and to monitor how well it is progressing. This way of working brings together all the service providers engaged with a person and ensures service responses are coordinated with one another.

    Who provides MACNI support

    MACNI support is delivered by a mix of community service organisations with experience of working together to meet the needs of individuals. These services might include:

    • Aboriginal community-controlled organisations
    • Mental health services
    • Housing services
    • Drug and alcohol services
    • Disability and health services
    • Justice and correctional services.

    How to get assistance

    Contact a Department of Health and Human Services MACNI coordinator in your local area.  See the Locations of DHHS office in Victoria page for contact details.

    More information

    Support for you: How the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative can assist you (word).

    Getting it together: A guide for individuals, carers, and services on accessing the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (word).

    For information for service providers, see Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative on our Service Providers website.