Caseworker Resources

  • This page provides a guide for caseworkers on service access for refugee and asylum seeker children and families. A presentation is available to provide training on service access (see resources ).

    Acute care access

    Ambulance services are free in an emergency and public hospitals and related services are free for all refugees and asylum seekers, including asylum seekers in Community Detention. See: Victorian Government information, ambulance payment guidelines, immicard and asylum seeker identification.

    Refugee health screening

    All permanent entrants to Australia have an immigration medical examination (IME) 3-12 months before they travel (see overview of the health requirement), Humanitarian entrants are offered an additional (voluntary) departure health check in the week prior to travel. These assessments rule out public health issues and make sure people are ‘fit to fly’. Health screening in Immigration detention is similar to the IME.

    A refugee health assessment is recommended for all people arriving as refugees or seeking asylum after they arrive in Australia. Available data suggest <5% of children receive recommended health screening in Victoria. 

    Has my client had a refugee health assessment?

    Have they had:

    • Blood tests
    • Faecal specimen
    • Tuberculosis screening - either with a tuberculin skin test (needle into the skin of the left forearm, and measured two days later) or a blood test
    • Covid vaccination (age 5y+) and 3 sets of vaccines (~3-4 needles in each set) over 4 months. Children 0-9 years will need 4 sets of vaccines over 10 months.

    Have the results been checked? Have abnormal results been treated? Does the client understand their results? Health screening and follow up of results will take at least two visits.

    Has my client completed catch-up Immunisation?

    Catch-up vaccinations are provided through general practitioners (GPs). They may also be provided at local council (for children <10 years), asylum seeker healthcare services,  paediatric refugee health specialist clinics or hospital-based services. Catch-up immunisation is essential for protection against vaccine preventable diseases (VPD), and is also required for full Centrelink payments (family tax benefit and childcare fee assistance) and enrolment in early childhood education. Available evidence shows only 24% of refugees resident in Victoria 12 months or longer receive adequate catch-up vaccination in primary care.  

    Primary health care

    • Refugee health teams provide advice on referral pathways and services. See directory of local teams.
    • GPs can provide physical and mental health care, preventive health care, catch-up vaccinations, and refugee health screening. GPs are available through community health centres (free), local bulk-billing doctors (free) or local private doctors (fees vary and there may be gap payments).  See: search by postcode - refugee health teams will know of local GPs with refugee health experience.
      • Community detention (residence determination) – people need to attend their International Health and Medical Service (IHMS) approved general practitioner - details on approved services are not publicly available. 
    • Maternal and Child Health Services (MCH) support parenting and children’s health and development from birth until school age. MCH provide advice on playgroups and community programs, some MCH services provide immunisation.  Routine checks are due at birth, 2w, 4w, 8w, 4m, 8m, 12m, 18m, 2y and 3.5yrs. 

    What should clients bring to medical appointments?

    • Any health summaries, including IHMS summaries if relevant
    • Any test results
    • Immunisation records
    • Medications, including traditional medicines (it is always easier to review medications directly)

    Medications and pharmacy access

    Dental care

    Allied health care

    • Vision checks can be accessed at commercial bulk-billing optometrists for clients with Medicare or at the Australian College Optometry (and associated outreach)  which also has affordable glasses.  School-age children may have their vision checked at school entry (this varies).
    • Hearing checks can be accessed at audiology servicesSpecsavers also provide audiology. Hearing aids are available through Hearing Australia.
    • Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy are available through:
      • Community health centres - these services often have age cut points for children (6 years or school entry), despite Victorian government guidelines that define target populations as 0-12 years.
      • Early childhood early intervention (ECEI) - children with developmental issues in more than one domain may be eligible for allied health through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), although waiting lists are long. Asylum seeker children/children in detention can also be referred (see Disability webpage for process).
      • Hospitals provide allied health services for hospital inpatients. 
      • School aged children may be able to access allied health at school (usually in place in specialist education, rare in mainstream education).
      • Private allied health is often inaccessible due to cost. Bilingual health professional directories are available:
    • Community detention - individuals require case by case approval via IHMS for allied health services.

    Specialist paediatric care


    • Craigieburn Health Service - Paediatric Refugee Health Clinic  
      • Address: 274-304 Craigieburn Rd, Craigieburn, 3064 
      • Paediatricians: (Dr Czarina Calderon and paediatric fellow) 
      • Contact details: Phone 8338 3081, Fax 8405 8616. Email: 
      • Notes: Clinic alternate Thursdays. Intake coordinator: Kerene Oppedisano, GP referrals required.

    • Dandenong - Monash Refugee Health and Wellbeing (Dandenong) - internal referrals only  
      • Address: 122 Thomas St, Dandenong 
      • Paediatrician: Dr Saniya Kazi and community paediatrics fellow 
      • Contact details: Phone 9792 8100, Fax 9792 7765, Email: (and attention to refugee health nurse on triage)  
      • Notes: Weekly Monday Afternoon clinic. GP Referrals required.
    • Darebin - Your Community Health  Paediatric Clinic.  
      • Address: 300 Bell Street, Preston, 3072 
      • Paediatrician: Dr Sophie Oldfield 
      • Contact details: Phone 8470 1111, Fax 8470 1107. New referrals to (emails preferred) 
      • Notes: 3rd Thursday of every month - focus is vitamin D. GP Referrals required. 

    • Deer Park IPC Health- Paediatric clinic 
      • Address: 106 Station St, Deer Park, 3023 
      • Paediatrician: Dr Yoko Asakawa 
      • Contact details: Phone 1300 472 432, Fax 8322 0348, Email:   
      • Notes: Monthly clinic on a Wednesday 09:30 - 12:30. (Pediatrician’s email is GP Referrals required.

    • Flemington - Royal Children's Hospital Immigrant health clinic  
      • Address: 50 Flemington Road, Parkville 
      • Paediatricians: Drs Georgie Paxton, Andrea Smith, Ingrid Laemmle Ruff, Shidan Tosif, Davina Buntsma, Elliot Lyon, Amy Williamson; Mental Health Dr Tiba Maloof, Tasha Holt
      • Contact details: Phone 93455522, fax 03 9345 5034. Email:
      • Notes: GP referral required, please email us if this is difficult -

    • Footscray CoHealth paediatric immigrant health clinic (Footscray) 
      • Address: 78 Paisley St, Footscray, 3011 
      • Paediatricians: Dr Jane Standish, Dr Jade Woon and paediatric fellow from RCH 
      • Contact details: Phone 9448 5502, Fax 7000 1818  
      • Notes: Thursday clinic Child refugee health, general/developmental paediatrics in immigrant health setting. GP Referrals required.  
    • Hoppers Crossing - Utopia Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health internal referrals only  
      • Address: 5 Alexandra Ave, Hoppers Crossing 3029 
      • Paediatrician: Dr Dan Mason 
      • Contact Details: Phone 8001 3049, Fax 8804 5848, Email:    
      • Notes: Thursday clinic once/month. GP referrals required

    • Ringwood East - EACH clinic 
      • Address: 75 Patterson Street, Ringwood East, 3134 
      • Paediatrician: Dr Jade Woon and Dr Eva Sudbury 
      • Contact details: Phone 9837 3900, Email: and   
      • Notes: clinic 6-8 weekly, variable days . GP Referrals required, renew yearly. 


    • BallaratPaediatric Immigrant Health Clinic Ballarat Community Health Centre  
      • Address 12 Lilburne St, Lucas 3350 
      • Paediatrician: Dr David Tickell 
      • Contact Details: Phone 5338 4500, Fax 5336 1613  
      • Notes: Clinic operates Thursdays, weekly. Clinic focus is vitamin D. GP Referrals required.  

    • Bendigo - Bendigo Community Health Services Paediatric clinic.  
      • Address: 19 Helm St, Kangaroo Flat VIC 3555 
      • Paediatrician: Dr Anne Dawson 
      • Contact Details: Phone 5430 0500, Fax 5441 4200, Email: 
      • Notes: General paediatric clinic which accommodates refugees Alternating Monday/Tuesdays. GP Referrals required. 

    • Geelong (Barwon Health) Paediatric Refugee Health Clinic  
      • Address: 73 Little Ryrie st (cnr Argyle St), Geelong, 3220 
      • Paediatrician: Dr Jane Standish and Dr Kate McCloskey  
      • Contact Details: Phone 4215 1396, Fax 4215 1383, Email:, coordinator Jude Butwilowsky -    
      • Notes: Tuesday morning 9:30 - 12:00. Geelong Hospital Outpatient Annexe, (opposite hospital main entrance) GP Referrals required. Referral form available on Barwon Health website, please fax referrals.    

    • Shepparton - Primary Care Connect - paediatric clinic  \
      • Address: 399 Wyndham St, Shepparton, 3630 
      • Paediatrician: community paediatrics fellow 
      • Contact Details: Phone 5823 3200, Referrals online.  
      • Notes: clinic alternate Wednesday mornings. GP Referrals required.    
    • Other specialist paediatric outpatient services - All hospitals in Victoria see children except RMH, Alfred, St Vincents and Footscray.
    • Most community health centres also have visiting paediatricians. 

    Mental Health 

    Education services


    Kindergarten is essential for children’s development and to prepare them for school – see local directory.  

    • Early start kindergarten (also see DFFH information) is free for refugee and asylum seeker children. Please do not enrol 3-year old children into 4-year old programs. 
    • The kindergarten fee subsidy is available (for refugees/SHP visa 200–217, Asylum seekers on BV A–F , TPV 447, 451, 785, RoS visa holders). 
    • Pre-School Field Officers (PSFO) are available to help children with developmental problems who are attending kindergarten (kindergartens make referrals to the PSFO).
    • Community detention – kindergarten fees and placement need to be approved by the Department of Home Affairs, via the families SRSS case manager.


    • Please check date of birth and consider grade placement - we recommend placing refugee background students so they are with the older students in a given year level - e.g. a 6 year old child is better placed in foundation/prep (which has 5-year old and 6-year old students). Please call us if helpful. 
    • English language schools and centres (ELS/C) - new arrival students (in Victoria <18 months) can access intensive English language programs in Victorian ELS/C. 
    • Local government, Catholic, independent and specialist schools are available. 
    • Asylum seekers can continue to the end of the school year in which they turn 18 years.  Schools can access additional support for students with disability. Disability support is also available to students attending language schools.
    • Community detention - students can attend either Government or Catholic schools.
    • New arrivals from Gaza - Contact International Education Division at: for enrolment with fees waived for 6 months. Ph: +61 3 7022 1000.


    • Patient advocacy/consumer liaison is available in all hospitals for all patients, and is an important resource for progressing concerns or adverse events, or providing positive/other feedback. See RCH feedback (available in different languages).
    • Language Services - Interpreter services are a right and entitlement for families with low English proficiency.
      • Hospitals – usually provided internally (advocate)
      • Community health – variable arrangements (advocate)
      • Private GPs or specialists – TIS 24 hr Doctors Priority Line 131450 (free) - doctors need to be registered
      • Pharmacists - have access to TIS (free)
      • Allied health - may have access to TIS. Other private allied health - free interpreting may not be available.
      • ATAPS mental health providers – should be available (advocate) - e.g. CAREinMIND - NWMPHN.


    Immigrant health clinic resources. Updated May 2024. Contact