FaHCSIA – BetterStart Initiative for Children with a Disability
Early Links Inclusion Support Service, is a FaHCSIA Early Intervention Provider Panel member. This approval is part of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) Helping Children with Autism Package (HCWA).
Who is eligible to receive support under BetterStart?
Eligible children are aged under six years and have been diagnosed with:
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
- Fragile X syndrome
- A moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment, including 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 or
- Rett’s Disorder
What does the BetterStart initiative include?
The Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) initiative includes:
- Up to $12,000 in funding for early intervention services and treatments for eligible children
- Additional assistance for eligible children who live in outer-regional, rural or remote locations to help with the costs of accessing services
- A Medicare rebate for the development of a treatment and management plan for eligible children up to the age of 13
- Medicare rebates for up to four allied health diagnostic/assessment services for eligible children under the age of 13, the results of which contribute to the development of the treatment and management plan, and
- Medicare rebates for up to 20 relevant allied health services in total for each eligible child under the age of 15 provided the treatment and management plan is in place before the age of 13.
The Early Intervention funding can be used to pay for services provided by a range of early intervention professionals who are members of the Better Start Early Intervention Service Provider Panel.
The professionals on the panel include:
- Speech Pathologists
- Occupational Therapists
- Orthoptists and
Eligible children must be registered before their sixth birthday and families will have until their child turns seven to use the early intervention funding.
Up to 35% of a child’s early intervention funding can be used for the purchase of resources. This means that up to $4,200 in total out of the $12,000 can be used for resources, up to a total of $2,100 in any one financial year.
Resources that are purchased with Better Start funds must:
- Be recommended by the child’s Better Start service provider, and
- Be directly linked with the early intervention services being delivered to the child, and/or
- Provide support for the delivery of interventions at home.
How can I register my child?
Parents or carers of eligible children will need to register their child for the BetterStart early intervention funding before the child turns six years of age.
Registration of eligible children is managed by the dedicated Registration and Information Service (RIS), which is operated by Carers Australia.
To register a child for the BetterStart early intervention funding parents and carers must call the RIS on 1800 242 636.
If you require further information about the BetterStart initiative, visit Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website or contact the BetterStart Helpline on 1800989530. This helpline operates from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday to Fridays (excluding public holidays). Specific enquiries can also be emailed to Better.Start@fahcsia.gov.au
What services can Early Links provide?
Early Links works in partnership with families to help parents learn how to build the child’s skills. Services provided by include:
- Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy delivered in the home, Early Links clinic, community and education settings
- Psychology Support
- Resources – purchasing of equipment
Please click here to download our Therapy Brochure.