Contact ATCA


ATCA 2019 Conference


Looking for some support?

ATCA members provide more than 70 Therapeutic Communities (TCs) and associated services across Australia and New Zealand.  The locations of services are provided on the map below, and our website provides the names and contact details of these services, all of which are available to help you or someone you know who has an alcohol or other drug problem.

ATCA Locations Map

ATCA, as the peak body, is not the point of referral. The locations map (above) will tell you which state or territory of Australia, or where in New Zealand, each service is located.  Once you have identified the service, navigating the system is easy –

  1. Click on the “Looking for Help?” button at the top of this page
  2. Select the location (Australian state or territory or New Zealand) from the drop-down box
  3. This will then open a further drop-down box with a list of TCs (e.g. there are 16 listed in NSW)
  4. Click on the name of a TC and follow the information provided on the organisation’s page. This will give you a phone number and/or an email address

There are many things to consider when you are seeking treatment and rehabilitation for yourself or someone in your life.

We are here to help, and wish you well on this important journey.

Our History

In 1985, the Social Issues in Australia Survey was conducted to obtain benchmark data on attitudes to drugs, and led to the establishment of The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse, following a Special Premiers’ Conference in Melbourne. The conference brought together treatment providers from across Australia, including a small group of people who were operating residential treatment programs as Therapeutic Communities (TCs) but who had remained largely unconnected from each other.

In 1986, following the Special Premiers’ Conference, this group met at Odyssey House in Melbourne and agreed to the establishment of the Australian (later to become the Australasian) Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA). ATCA was established as a membership association whose purpose was to bring together Therapeutic Communities from across Australia & New Zealand and to support and promote the TC as a method of treatment for substance dependency.

From 1986 – 2006, ATCA operated as a voluntary group with an elected Board of Management, providing peer support and training to its members and working together to ensure quality standards of treatment were maintained. In 2006, the Association received a grant from the Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing which provided funding to establish a secretariat to, “provide information aimed at improving the quality of TC services in the areas of treatment, research, education and support”. This grant facilitated the employment of an Executive Officer to take responsibility for fulfilling these goals.

Since 2006, ATCA membership has grown by over 70%, with ATCA members managing more than 70 TCs in community and custodial settings across Australia and New Zealand. ATCA members also provide a range of non-residential services, and over the course of a year will provide residential services to over 10,000 people and out-client support to more than 30,000 – so over the course of one year, our services will provide help and support to more than 40,000 admissions. These services include detoxification units, family, gambling and mental health counselling, child care facilities, family support programs, exit housing and outreach services.

TCs are a proven model of effective treatment for a range of issues, including substance use and mental health, and have been shown to be especially effective for people with coexisting mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) conditions and those affected by chronic substance dependency. The research base is steadily growing through active partnerships between member agencies and universities. Of particular note, are the partnerships with the Universities of New South Wales, Newcastle, Wollongong, Monash,  Deakin, Adelaide and Curtin, with a growing number of papers published in quality peer reviewed journals in Australia and internationally.

ATCA Standard

The support of the Australian Government through the Department of Health was further enhanced in 2008, with funding to develop the ATCA Standard. The ATCA Standard was first launched in 2009 and since that time has been trialed and modified through peer review. In 2014 the ATCA Standard for Therapeutic Communities and Residential Rehabilitation Services was certified by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) and is now available on the ATCA website ( . Also available on the website are the Interpretive Guides which have been developed to assist TCs and residential services wishing to undertake a review or accreditation against the ATCA Standard.

To navigate your way to the ATCA Standard, click on the Members tab at the top of this page, and then on ATCA Standard, where you will find a copy of the ATCA Standard and the ATCA Interpretive Guide, together with information on the ATCA Quality Portal, which has been developed in partnership with Breaking New Ground.

Our Vision

  • The Therapeutic Community model of treatment is recognised and embraced by community and governments across Australasia.

Our Mission

  • ATCA is an association that supports, represents and advocates for programs that restore a sense of wellbeing through the use of quality driven Therapeutic Communities and other residential models of

Our Priorities

  • To ensure the membership of ATCA is committed to quality, through the adoption of the ATCA
  • To improve the knowledge and confidence of governments in the quality of ATCA member
  • To sustain and grow ATCA and its membership
  • To support the development of a strong workforce through the fostering of professional peer support and development amongst member
  • To encourage and support ongoing research into the Therapeutic Communities Model.o
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More reading:

ATCA-Strategic-Plan 2017-2021

Therapeutic Community Model of Treatment

ATCA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health (DoH). We acknowledge the financial support provided to the ATCA Secretariat and to the development and implementation of the Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) Standard.  We also acknowledge the financial support of the New Zealand Government through the Ministry of Health, which has enabled the development of the TC Training Course