Better Start program

The Better Start program is an initiative that supports children who have a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Moderate or greater vision or hearing impairments, including deafblindness. From 1 January 2013, Better Start has been made available to children who have a diagnosis of Prader-Willi, Williams, Angelman, Kabuki, CHARGE, Cornelia de Lange or Cri du Chat syndromes or microcephaly. Rett Syndrome was added to that list on 1 February 2014.

What is the Better Start program?

Better Start is an Australian Government initiative funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS) that supports eligible children and their families by giving them access to early intervention funding and services delivered by registered service providers.

Children who are eligible for the program can access funding of up to $12,000 (to a maximum of $6,000 per financial year) for a range of early intervention services, including:

  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Psychology
  • Audiology
  • Physiotherapy
  • Orthoptics
  • Equipment that is essential to the child’s therapy when ordered by an approved provider (up to 35%)

Therapists must be chosen from the Government approved authorised provider panel.
Children must be under six years old to be registered, and families will have until the child’s seventh birthday to use the early intervention funding.

Carers Victoria is delivering the registration and information service for families wanting to access the Better Start program.

Can I register for the $12,000 Better Start funding?

1. Is your child under 6 years of age?

2. Does your child have a definitive diagnosis of one of the following?

  • Down syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Prader Willi syndrome
  • Williams syndrome
  • Angelman syndrome
  • Kabuki syndrome
  • Smith-Magenis syndrome
  • CHARGE syndrome
  • Cornelia de Lange syndrome
  • Cri du Chat syndrome
  • Microcephaly
  • Moderate or greater vision or hearing impairments
  • Deaf/blindness
  • Rett Syndrome

3. Are you an Australian citizen or permanent resident?

If you answered YES to all of these questions you are encouraged to register for early intervention funding through the Better Start program.

How do I register?

Contact the Carer Advisory Service on 1800 514 845 or email and ask about the Better Start program.