Transitioning to the NDIS

Transition from Better Start funding to the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) 0-6 years of age support pathways.

The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach is currently rolling out in stages across the states, territories and their regions with full roll-out expected to have been reached by 2020. The ECEI approach is being implemented in line with the scheduled full-scheme roll out of the NDIS.

For children aged 0-6 who currently receive Better Start funding and who live in areas where the ECEI has become available:  

Families of children, aged 0-6 years of age who are currently registered with Better Start to receive funding and who live in regions where the NDIS is rolling out, will be contacted by the NDIA or an Early Childhood Partner to initiate the NDIS ECEI transition process.

These meetings will be scheduled over a period-of-time during the transition phase.

Children who require more long-term early childhood early intervention supports will be provided assistance to access the NDIS and, if eligible, will be supported to develop an NDIS plan. Planning conversations will be scheduled in line with the agreed phasing schedule in each region, and while a family is waiting for a planning conversation meeting - the Early Childhood Provider will provide initial supports, including linkages to mainstream and community services.

If a child is deemed eligible to become a participant of the NDIS, their Better Start funding will cease when they have an approved NDIS plan in place.  

If a child is deemed ineligible for the NDIS, they will continue to be supported under Better Start funding until the child turns seven, or when their funds are expended. If you disagree with a decision made by the NDIA regarding your child's eligibility, please refer to the NDIA Internal review process

Where families do not receive any correspondence or contact from the NDIA, they are encouraged to make contact with an Early Childhood Partner in their area through self-referral or by contacting the NDIS call centre on 1800 800 110 for support.

Parents can also complete the NDIS Access Checklist to check whether their child meets the NDIS access requirements.

What will happen when you have your first meeting with an Early Childhood Early Intervention provider?

An Early Childhood Coordinator will meet with you and your child to conduct an assessment and gather information to determine which pathway would best support your child’s growth and development.

This may include short-term support, where your family will be provided with information, strategies, and linkages to services and therapists for a period of 3-6 months or longer.

If your child is assessed to be best supported by an NDIS plan, an Early Childhood Coordinator will work with you to request NDIS access. Please refer to  Carers Australia on Getting NDIS Plan Ready and for support in preparing for the NDIS planning meeting. 

If your child has been confirmed eligible to become an NDIS participant they will be referred back to the Early Childhood Provider - who will then conduct an NDIS planning meeting with the family to support the development of an NDIS plan. 

Better Start funding will cease when your child has an approved NDIS plan in place.  

Please Note: Early Childhood Partners have not been established in remote and very remote locations. Families living in these areas will be supported by an NDIS Regional Hub and will need to contact the NDIA through the call centre on 1800 800 110.

Northern Territory

Early Childhood partners will not be established in the NT. Families of children aged 0-6 years of age, can refer to the NDIA hubs for Early Childhood Early Intervention support where the NDIS has rolled out. The NDIA ECEI support pathway is now operating in the following NT regions: Barkly, East Arnhem, Darwin Remote, and Katherine. Eligible families residing in Darwin and Central Australia can still apply for Better Start funding until August 2018.

Western Australia

Families of children with disability aged 0-6 years residing in WA can contact the WA NDIS, up until 30 June 2018 for referral to Early Childhood Early Intervention Support (where Better Start registrations have closed).

Contracted NDIA Early Childhood Partners are expected to be in place in WA from 1 July 2018.

For further information on eligibility and transitional information, please contact the Better Start Registration team on 1800 242 636

The Department of Social Services has put together a list of FAQs to support families who are participating in the Better Start program with their NDIS transition enquiries.

For newly diagnosed children aged 0-6 who live in an area where registrations for Better Start have closed and the NDIS ECEI pathway is available:

Where Better Start registrations have closed, families can self-refer to a NDIS Early Childhood Partner in their area for assessment, or through a maternal health nurse or the health system (GP, paediatrician). Alternatively, they can contact the NDIS call centre on 1800 800 110, which will direct the parent to an Early Childhood Partner in their local area and provide some initial information on registering for the NDIS.

Further information on the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach can be found on the NDIS website at 

Better Start Early Days Moving Forward workshops

The Carers Australia state and territory carer associations are currently delivering workshops for families and carers of children with disability aged 0-6 years of age. These workshops support understanding of the Better Start program and provide regional transition information regarding the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention pathways.

Please note: Early Days Moving Forward workshops are not delivered in SA or ACT.

The aim of the workshops:

  • To support family and carer understanding of the Better Start program and how to utilise the funding
  • Provide information on financial, social and emotional support available to family and carers of children with disability
  • Provide networking and social connection opportunities
  • Provide information about the family’s local and regional transition from Better Start funding to the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention pathway of support.
  • Support families and carers with NDIS pre-planning activities in preparation for an NDIS planning conversation.

If you would like to attend a Better Start Early Days Moving Forward workshop or find out when and where the workshops are being delivered, please call 1800 242 636.

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