Proposed NDIS changes may affect early childhood early intervention – have your say
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plans to implement components of the new Early Childhood Approach to working with children and families living with disabilities from early 2021 through to 2022.
Ahead of the implementation, a paper has been prepared to explain, and seek feedback about the following:
- The age group best suited to receive early childhood services and whether this should be changed from under seven years of age, to under nine years
- How independent assessments will be used to determine eligibility and budgets for participants over 12 months of age
- Short Term Early Intervention (STEI), which is the early support that is offered whether or not a child is eligible for the NDIS
- Planning and implementation of best practice supports
- Support for young children and families to transition to the next stage of their lives, if they are no longer eligible for the NDIS.
“The current ECEI approach is very different to what was originally planned for the early childhood part of the Scheme,” a representative from Down Syndrome Queensland shared, adding that the current approach “has led to much more funding being spent in this area than had originally been projected”.
The proposals focus heavily on returning to an evidence based best practice approach which covers the central role of family, therapy within home/community settings, team-based approach, respect of cultural values, qualified professionals, and a strengths based approach to encourage families to transition out of the Scheme if support is no longer required.
The project consultation report outlines the research, recommendations and background on the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) reset is also available for anyone interested in understanding the detailed project activities.
A large number of recommendations for changes to the ECEI approach are included in the paper, some of which are:
- The development of new Early Childhood Operating Guidelines.
- The development of better measures to ensure providers are operating to best practice and evidence based standards (including suggestions such as requiring all Early Childhood providers to be registered; better encouragement of providers to provide their support in the child’s natural settings).
- A different Independent Assessment process for children aged over one year (potentially using different assessment tools than for older participants); which will be done by the Early Childhood Partners rather than Independent Assessors.
- Increasing the scope of what the Early Childhood partner does, such as better supporting vulnerable communities; providing short term early intervention support, and for longer periods; educating families further around how to recognise best practice/evidence-based providers; and linking families to local community support.
- Increasing the age that ECEI ends from seven to nine years of age (this will assist in supporting families as they navigate the transition to school),
As well as reading the ECEI reset report, those who are interested in learning more about the proposed changes, or providing feedback, have a number of avenues available to them:
- Review the “easy read” Supporting Young Children Early report
- Make a submission in response to the report
- Attend an event which relates to understanding and responding to the report
- Review the frequently asked questions about work being done to improve the way NDIS works with young children and families
- Learn more about what the proposed changes mean for young children and families.
The NDIS website is available for review, and to source timely updates about the proposed changes.