Carers Victoria’s free NDIS Kids Connect program provides information, linkage and online workshops and information sessions to assist families with a child (0 – 7 years old) with a disability to successfully transition and connect to the NDIS.
Connecting to the NDIS and finding the right people to assist can be difficult and confusing.
Parents engaging with NDIS Kids Connect may have begun the transition for their child from other funding such as Better Start; are seeking access to the NDIS for the first time; or are planning or implementing their child’s first NDIS plan and need some extra assistance. Even if you have been engaged with the Scheme for some time, you may feel overwhelmed with the service system and simply don’t know how to proceed. NDIS Kids Connect is here to help you navigate these issues.
The NDIS Kids Connect program can also provide information, secondary consultation and online information sessions for staff, parent clients or individual service providers liaising with families with a child with a disability who are experiencing barriers to effective pathways to the NDIS.
For More Information
If you are a parent or service provider please contact Michele Semmens, Carers Victoria ‘NDIS Kids Connect’ at email@example.com
I have been receiving Better Start funding for my child with a disability. Can’t I just stay with that funding and not worry about transferring to the NDIS?
Better Start funding will cease as of March 2021 and is no longer receiving registrations so there is no way of continuing with this funding past March 2021. Into the future, the NDIS will provide funding for children once they have been assessed as eligible. It is important to begin the transition for your child to NDIS as soon as possible and to utilise your outstanding Better Start funding before the program ceases in March.
What is ECEI?
ECEI stands for Early Childhood Early Intervention and is part of the NDIS. The focus is on children (0 – 6 years old) with a disability or developmental delay. Research tells us that providing early intervention such as therapies and appropriate equipment at this early stage can support a child’s development and maximize their potential into the future.
Who are the Early Childhood Early Intervention Partners and where are they located?
Several organisations have partnered with the NDIS to become Early Childhood partners with a focus on the 0 – 6 year-old age group with the Local Area Coordinators assisting those families with children over the age of 6.
Attached below, is information about Early Childhood Early Intervention Partners and their locations. While this chart is broken down into regions across Victoria, local government areas have also been added to make it easy for parents to know who to call in their relevant local government area.
Download locations here
What happens when I contact the Early Childhood Partner?
An ECEI coordinator from the Early Childhood partner organisation will be appointed to assist you and your child. The coordinator will get to know you and your child and assist you to explore community supports for and develop goals for your child.
Do I need a diagnosis for my child to get assistance from the ECEI or NDIS?
For a child with a disability (0 – 6 years old) there is no specific need to get a diagnosis to access the Early Childhood Early Intervention.
As a parent, you may have concerns about your child’s development as compared to other children their age or are already aware that they have a disability. Sometimes professionals may also have had concerns about your child as well.
Early intervention at the age of 0 – 6 years old can assist a child to reach their potential by funding the cost of therapies and equipment for example.
Once the child is over 6 years old a diagnosis is required. It’s a great idea to put together any documents such as reports from medical or allied health professionals that you have regarding your child’s disability or development. This will support your access to the NDIS.
How do I get a diagnosis?
A great place to start is your doctor (General Practitioner) who will be able to advise on pediatricians in the area. Allied health professionals in hospitals or community health centres that you may have had contact with regarding your child’s disability may also be helpful and have information about obtaining a diagnosis.
How do I know if my child is eligible for the NDIS?
For your child to be eligible for the NDIS, you need to be an Australian Citizen or a permanent resident or on a protected special category visa.
Your child however can access Early Intervention even if you do not meet residency requirements. This would need to be discussed with the Early Childhood Partner in your area.
Please see the earlier question for a list of Early Childhood partners across Victoria.
Why do I need an NDIS plan for my child?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme aims to support individuals across the life stages from 0-65 years old. Once your child has been approved for eligibility to the NDIS, they will have an individual plan developed, based on their functioning. The NDIS funds individual plans with funding and support based on goals for the child and their disability.
While the plan may change according to their day-to-day functioning into the future, they will continue to be covered by the NDIS for their lifetime. This may provide some assurance to you as a parent that your child’s needs in terms of their disability, will be met as they grow into young people and then into adulthood and senior adulthood.
Some parents are cautious and may not want to ‘label’ their child in terms of their disability and have not followed up with the NDIS for this reason.
Other parents may not want their child to go through intensive diagnostic assessments and access requirements or do not agree that their child has a disability.
Whatever your view, it is important to speak widely with health professionals and other trusted members in your community about NDIS before you decide.
NDIS Kids Connect is also available to discuss any concerns that you may have. Please send an email to Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org
If my child is ineligible for the NDIS, what can I do?
The Local Area Coordinator can assist where a child is deemed ineligible for the NDIS. This may include finding community organisations and supports that can provide some support to your child. Please refer to the EC partners list in the earlier question for your local contact.
I am in the planning stage for my child. What is involved?
The plan for your child will consider the child’s disability and their level of functioning daily.
It is important to talk about what your child needs are each day. Do they need assistance with eating, toileting or dressing? Is there a need for speech therapy or occupational therapy, to assist your child. Is assistive technology such as a laptop and appropriate software needed?
It is useful to think in terms of what are the goals for your child currently and then into the future.
The developed plan will be an individual plan with funding for individual supports for your child.
The other thing to consider, is how the plan will be managed. As a parent, are you confident to self-manage or would you prefer an external Plan Manager or the NDIA to manage your child’s plan.
You will also need to find service providers to implement the funded support in your child’s plan. Registered NDIS service providers can be found on the NDIS website.
Here are some contact numbers that may be useful:
Carers Victoria NDIS Kids Connect
NDIS Carers online Facebook
Managed by Carers Victoria
NDIS National Call Centre (NCC)
Phone for anything NDIS related
1800 800 110
Department of Social Services Helpdesk
1800 778 581
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)
ECIA is the peak body for early intervention services in Victoria
1800 422 739
Raising Children Network
Amaze – Autism Connect
National phone line
1300 308 699
Association for Children with a disability
Free Support Line
Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare