The Better Start Early Intervention Program for Children
Launched in July 2011, The Better Start Initiative is a federally funded program for families of children diagnosed with a disability. If aged under six years, eligible children’s families can access funding of up to $6,000 per financial year (up to $12,000 in total) to go towards early intervention services provided by Better Start Initiative registered service providers. Families of children aged between six and seven years may still be entitled to financial assistance, however they should contact Carers Queensland to find out more (details below).
Families of children with the following diagnosed conditions may be eligible for this federal government assistance –
- Cerebral Palsy
- Fragile X
- Down Syndrome
- Hearing Impairment of 40 decibels or greater in the better ear across four frequencies (including children with permanent conductive hearing loss and auditory neuropathy)
- Vision Impairment of 6/18 or equivalent field loss in the better eye with correction
- Deaf blindness
- Kabuki Syndrome
- Prader-Willi Syndrome
- Williams Syndrome
- Angelman Syndrome
- Cornelia de Lange Syndrome
- Cri du Chat Syndrome
- Smith Magenis Syndrome
- Microcephaly (based on a head circumference less than the third percentile and a functional level at or below 2 standard deviations below the mean for age on the Griffiths Mental Development Scales, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development or the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI))
Better Start Treatment and Management Plan
Children under 13 years may also be entitled to access additional Better Start Medicare items, including up to four Medicare rebated allied health professional diagnostic sessions to develop a Better Start Treatment and Management plan. To determine if your child is eligible, you can visit the Medicare Benefits Schedule website www.mbsonline.gov.au, your local Medicare office, or contact Carers Queensland on 1800 242 646 or www.carersqld.asn.au.
A Wealth of Information for Families
The Better Start Initiative assists families regardless of whether they are eligible for the program funding or not. The initiative can provide a wide range of information regarding other entitlements, including Medicare Treatment Management Plans and the Helping Children with Autism Program (which offers up to $12,000 funding).
How to Register for the Better Start Early Intervention Program
To register or access further information regarding your child’s eligibility, please contact Carers Queensland by phoning 1800 242 646 or visit www.betterstart.net.au.