Minister promises to resolve early intervention NDIS delays

by Freya Lucas

July 02, 2019

The Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Stuart Robert has outlined a plan to resolve delays and backlogs for children living with disability in accessing Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) supports through the NDIS.

 

The role of early intervention in the life of a child living with disability is to aim to lessen or reduce the impact of a child’s impairment/s on their functional capacity, by providing support at the earliest possible stage. The approach builds on the strengths and capacity of the family and promotes increased inclusion and participation in a child’s everyday environments.

 

The six month “catch up” plan to clear backlogs and delays will be implemented by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), focussing on the following key initiatives:

 

  • Working with ECEI Partners to secure additional resources to ensure children receive early childhood supports in a timelier manner.

 

  • New participants who are not categorised as complex and who are not transferring from an existing Commonwealth, state or territory disability program will be given a standardised interim plan for $10,000.

 

  • For those who are transferring from an existing Commonwealth, state or territory disability program their interim NDIS plan and funding package will reflect their existing support levels. If, however, that amount is lower than $10,000, they will also receive the $10,000 standardised interim plan for up to six months.

 

  • For those children who have been found eligible for the NDIS, but who are likely to experience a wait time of greater than 50 days between an access decision and getting a plan, the NDIA will provide a standardised interim plan for six months. These interim plans will be replaced by a full NDIS plan no later than six months after being issued.

 

  • Participants with complex support needs will immediately be streamed to an NDIA Early Childhood specialist to develop their plan and appropriate funding package.

 

The NDIA will also provide additional support to ECEI Partners in areas experiencing delays by redirecting available NDIA ECEI planners to assist with planning activities.

 

Mr Robert said the NDIS is designed to promote family decision-making and ensures the values and needs of the whole family are considered to support the child’s development.

 

He said the NDIS has the potential to be “a game changer” for those families and children living with significant and permanent disability or developmental delay, with the scheme well positioned to meet their goals and support them to engage in the community. 

 

Mr Robert outlined that, as Minister for NDIS, he had been working with NDIA to identify what further steps could be taken to address “unnecessarily complex processes (that) have the potential to discourage families who are already doing so much for their children”.

 

As at 31 March 2019, there were around 280,000 participants supported by the NDIS, more than 85,000 of whom have never had any state or federal disability supports. 

 

More than 11,500 children aged birth – six years of age have been receiving supports through the ECEI approach.

 

For more information on the NDIS and ECEI visit: www.ndis.gov.au

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