Better Start for Children with Disability

What is Better Start?

Better Start is an initiative funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services.  Funding is provided for early intervention services for children with eligible disabilities to better prepare them for the transition to school.

RIDBC is registered with Better Start to provide services to your family. The focus of Better Start is on giving you choice and control over your child’s early intervention by providing financial support for you to access registered service providers such as RIDBC. 

At RIDBC we always focus on person centred care, tailoring our programs to suit the individual needs of children and their families. RIDBC is dedicated to ensuring the very best outcomes for children, and is currently providing support to many families who are accessing their Better Start funding.

Who is eligible?

Children less than six years old who have been diagnosed with one of the following disabilities may apply for Better Start funding:

  • Hearing loss: your child will be eligible if they have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or greater in the better ear, across four frequencies. This includes children with permanent conductive hearing loss and auditory neuropathy;
  • Vision loss: your child will be eligible if they have vision of less than or equal to 6/18 or equivalent field loss in their better eye, with correction;
  • Deafblindness: your child’s diagnosis must be made by a specialist multidisciplinary team. This diagnosis must include an opthalmological and audiological evaluation. Application of a threshold is not required;
  • Down Syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis of Down Syndrome, including mosaic Down Syndrome;
  • Fragile X Syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome with full mutation. This includes mosaicism;
  • Cerebral Palsy:  if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • Angelman syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • CHARGE syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • Cornelia de Lange syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis
  • Cri du Chat syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • Kabuki syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • Prader-Willi syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • Smith-Magenis syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • Williams syndrome: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis;
  • Retts disorder: if your child has a confirmed diagnosis.

What Funding is Available?       

  • Up to $12,000 in funding is available, with a maximum of $6000 to be used per financial year. This funding is to pay for early intervention services delivered by registered service providers until your child’s seventh birthday.  Up to 35% of this funding may be used to purchase resources or equipment that supports the ongoing delivery of early intervention therapies.  All resources must be recommended by the child’s early intervention provider prior to purchase;
  • Families residing in regional and remote areas of Australia will receive an additional $2000 to assist with additional expenses such as travel and home visits associated with accessing services. Eligibility for this is determined by the Better Start Registration and Information Service (RIS) when registering for Better Start;
  • Medicare support for the development and management plan for eligible children up to the age of 13;
  • Medicare support for up to four allied health diagnostic services and for 20 relevant allied health services for eligible children up to the age of 15 (provided the treatment and management plan is in place before the age of 13). Allied health treatments are provided by psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, physiotherapists, optometrists and orthoptists.

What do families need to do?

  • Ensure you have a written confirmed diagnosis of your child’s eligible disability provided on letterhead signed by the diagnosing practitioner;
  • Contact the Better Start Registration and Information Service (RIS) on 1800 242 636.  The RIS is implemented by Carers Australia. The RIS advisor can confirm your child’s eligibility based on age and diagnosis and will advise about the other requirements for registration and the registration process;
  • If your child is approved as eligible for funding, you need to provide registration details to RIDBC and complete the required paperwork to authorise RIDBC to reclaim costs from Better Start;
  • You need to sign documentation after each early intervention session.

Where can I get more information?

To find out more about Better Start and how RIDBC can support your child’s needs, please contact us on 1300 581 391 or info@ridbc.org.au

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