Media Release by The Hon Jane Prentice MP

Support services extended for families of children with disability

Families of young children with disability can continue accessing support and advice through the Australian Government’s early intervention programs until the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reaches full scheme in 2019-20.

The Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, announced $17 million over the next two years to continue to fund the education and information components of the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) and Better Start for Children with Disability programs.  These two programs offer early intervention services for children with disability who are aged 0-7.

Mrs Prentice said the Government recognises the need to continue supporting families with advice and information, as their children transition into the NDIS over the coming years.

Mrs Prentice said the programs play an important role in supporting families from their child’s diagnosis and as they navigate the system of disability supports.

“These programs have already helped more than 65,000 children with disability, their families and carers, to access the services they need.

“The early intervention funding – up to $12,000 per child – is gradually transitioning to the NDIS, but the Government recognises the continued need for these support and advice services during this time of change.

“This funding will support:

  • Autism Advisors through HCWA
  • Early Days Workshops and Better Start Community Events
  • HCWA Playconnect playgroups
  • Early Intervention Indigenous Liaison Officer program.

“These services provide an important complement to the support available to families through the health, education and early childhood sectors,” said Mrs Prentice.

“Some of these projects are already funded until the end of June 2017. This new funding will provide children and families using these programs with certainty for the following two years until the NDIS is rolled out nationally,” she said.

More information about the HCWA and Better Start can be found on the DSS website