Better Start for children with disability
About the program
The Better Start program is an Australian Government initiative, funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS). It supports children with disability and works to improve access to early intervention services to better prepare them for the transition to school. The Better Start Program also supports families with transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Access to Better Start
Due to the NDIS rollout across NSW registrations for Better Start funding in NSW is now closed.
Access to Medicare rebates through the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative is still available. Children under the age of thirteen with an eligible diagnosis can access Better Start Medicare items for up to four diagnostic / assessment services and up to twenty treatment sessions. You do not need to be registered with Better Start to use these Medicare items. Talk to your GP for more information and to develop a treatment and management plan.
To use any remaining Better Start funding, Early Intervention Service Providers must be chosen from the Department of Social Services (DSS) Better Start Early Intervention Service Provider Panel.
Better Start closing June 2021
The Better Start program will be closed for existing participants on 30 June 2021.
Children registered for Better Start should transition to the NDIS or may be eligible for Continuity of Support.
How we can help
The Better Start team at Carers NSW can help support your family with referrals, resources and information to access the NDIS, specifically within the 0-12 year age range. There are a number of ways to access the NDIS and the Better Start team can provide support to navigate the NDIS, and information on:
- the Early Childhood Early Intervention pathway (ECEI) with ECEI partners in NSW
- the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) pathway and how to apply
- resources available to prepare for your NDIS planning meeting or review
- how to ask for a review of your current plan
- how to make a complaint; and
- free group information sessions (Early Days Moving Forward Workshops) across NSW on the NDIS and navigating the education system for a child with a disability.
- Useful Links is an information guide that has been developed for parents and carers.
If you would like further information phone Carers NSW to talk with a Better Start team member or email email@example.com.
If you require a translator or interpreter you may access our service via the National Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service. For more information, visit: www.relayservice.gov.au.
Early Days Moving Forward Workshops
The Early Days Moving Forward workshop has been developed for parents and guardians of children with disability aged 0 – 12 years who are seeking information on the ECEI and NDIS pathways, planning processes and tools.
The focus of the workshop is to enable parents and guardians to better support their child through these transition periods while learning more about the systems, therapies and supports available for their child as a participant in mainstream services, school, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. They are also designed to allow opportunities for families to discuss and share experiences, challenges and aspirations for the future with other families and provide practical information on family advocacy and inclusiveness. Early Days Moving Forward workshops are free to attend and due to COVID-19 are currently taking place via Zoom.
Guest speakers attend all workshops, these include:
- ECEI partners (0-6 age group NDIS)
- Local Area Coordinators (7+ age group NDIS)
- Local Disability Advocacy Agency
- NSW Department of Education
Translating and interpreting services are available for all workshops.
NDIS Plan Information Sessions
The NDIS plan Information sessions have been developed by Carers NSW for parents and guardians of children aged 0-12 with disability or developmental delay who are looking for support with:
- starting their child’s NDIS plan
- using their child’s existing NDIS plan more effectively.
The information session topics include understanding your child’s NDIS plan, making changes to the plan, plan reviews, self-management tips, finding and choosing providers, and the importance of self-care.
The information sessions are available over the phone or as an online Zoom meeting.
See the events calendar on the Training and Events page for upcoming session dates.
Interpreting services are available for phone sessions.
If you would like further information on the Early Days Moving Forward Workshops or NDIS Information Sessions please phone Carers NSW to talk with a Better Start team member or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org