Better Start

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 deaf-blindness, Prader Willi, Williams, Angelman, Kabuki, Smith-Magenis, CHARGE, Cornelia de Lange or Cri du Chat syndromes, microcephaly, or Rett's Disorder.

What is the Better Start program?

The Better Start program is an Australian government initiative funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). The Better Start initiative supports families and their children who have a diagnosis of Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, cerebral palsy,  moderate or greater vision or hearing impairments including deaf-blindness, Prader Willi, Williams, Angelman, Kabuki, Smith-Magenis, CHARGE, Cornelia de Lange or Cri du Chat syndromes, microcephaly or Rett's Disorder.

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

  • Speech pathologists,
  • Audiologists,
  • Occupational therapists,
  • Physiotherapists,
  • Psychologists,
  • Orthoptists,
  • Teachers of the deaf,
  • Optometrists
  • Other early intervention specialists and
  • Equipment that is essential to the child's therapy when ordered by an approved provider (up to $2,100 can be spent on resources in any one financial year, up to $4,200 in total)

Therapists must be chosen from the FaHCSIA approved authorised provider panel. A list of panel providers can be found on the FaHCSIA website. 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 NSW is delivering the Registration and Information Service for families wanting to access the Better Start program.

Please click here for approved service providers in your area. 

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
    • Moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment
    • Deaf-blindness
    • Prader Willi syndrome
    • Williams syndrome
    • Angelman syndrome
    • Kabuki syndrome
    • Smith-Magenis syndrome
    • CHARGE syndrome
    • Cornelia de Lange syndrome
    • Cri du Chat syndrome
    • Microcephaly
    • Rett's Disorder (as of 01/02/2014)
  3. Are you and your child Australian citizens or permanent residents?

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 Line on 1800 242 636 or email betterstart@carersnsw.org.au and ask about the Better Start program.

Moving Forward workshop

The Moving Forward workshops have been developed for parents and guardians of children with disability aged 4 – 7 years, who are preparing for or have recently entered primary school. 

The focus of the workshops is to enable parents and guardians to better support their child through this transition period while learning more about systems, therapies and supports available for their child, when the Better Start funding period concludes.

Find out more on the Moving Forward workshop page or by contacting the Better Start team on 02 9280 4744 or betterstart@carersnsw.org.au.

News:

Accessibility:

High Contrast Switch

Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.