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A Better Start for Children with a Disability

This page provides information that is relevant for families with a confirmed diagnosis of Cri Du Chat Syndrome in a child aged 0-13 years as at 1st January, 2013. Please read carefully to ensure you are able to receive all services for which you are eligible.

Parents of children aged 0-6 as at 1st January, 2013:
If you have a child with a confirmed diagnosis of Cri Du Chat Syndrome, who is an Australian citizen aged 0-6 years on or after 1st January 2013, they will be eligible for registration for the Better Start for Children with a Disability funding. This package is $12000 towards approved therapies with registered providers. Therapies are provided at no direct cost to the families, with the therapists billing FaHCSIA directly for payment, and a statement being provided to families monthly. 35% of this amount can also be put towards resources that support therapy if they are recommended by a registered provider and agreed upon by the parent.

Families living in a rural area (as identified by their postcode) are eligible for a one off lump sum payment of $2000. There is also an application process available for families who believe they have extenuating circumstances, such as distance required for travel to registered therapists, or a lack of practical support to assist with sibling care etc. If families do not live in a rural area, applications are considered on a case by case basis.

You are invited to register your child for Better Start now by calling Carers Australia on 1800 242 636 or following the steps on the Better Start website.

Click here to view the list of Better Start Service Providers nationally, or by state.

Some points to note:

  • If your child has already been registered for Better Start or Helping Children with Autism funding with a secondary diagnosis (eg. Cerebral Palsy, Autism), the advice from Carers Australia is that it would be appropriate for you to inform them of the primary diagnosis of Cri Du Chat Syndrome. This will assist in accurate information regarding numbers of children in Australia with confirmed diagnosis of Cri Du Chat Syndrome, as well as informing further evidence of effective early intervention for children with this condition.
  • Better Start Providers are allowed to charge a 'modest' administration cost on top of appointment price for services, however if you have any concerns as to the amounts charged, please report to the Better Start team. Provider fees are monitored regularly. No administration charges can be added for the purchase of equipment, though a charge for the related consultation is permitted.

Parents of children aged 0-13 as at 1st January, 2013:
As part of this expansion, additional Medicare items are also being provided to support families with the costs of therapies for children with a disability aged up to 15 (as long as a treatment plan is in place by their 13th birthday). This component of the package is administered by the Department of Health and Ageing. No registration is required, but you will need to have a referral made to the relevant Allied Health professionals by a general practioner, specialist or consultant physician. For more information on this component, please read this FACT SHEET.

 

The following information has been taken from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website,
and can also be viewed in printable PDF form here: FACT SHEET - Better Start for Children with a Disability Expansion.

Better Start for Children with a Disability Expansion

Information for parents & carers

From 1 January 2013, children who are aged under 6 years and have been diagnosed with Prader Willi, Williams, Angelman, Kabuki, Smith-Magenis, CHARGE, Cornelia de Lange or Cri du Chat syndromes or microcephaly will be able to register to access early intervention funding of up to $12,000 (up to a maximum of $6,000 per financial year) under the Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) initiative.

Since 1 July 2011, children who are aged under 6 years and have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and moderate or greater hearing or vision impairments, including deafblindness, have been able to register for access to the early intervention funding under Better Start.

The funding can be used to pay for services such as speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, optometry, psychology, orthoptics and services of teachers of the deaf. Families have until their child turns seven to use the early intervention funding.

This targeted early intervention during the pre-school years aims to complement existing Commonwealth and State and Territory services and to assist these children to have the best possible preparation for the transition to school.

 

Support for Families with older children

In addition to the early intervention funding under Better Start, children with the listed disabilities (including those who are over the age of six) may be eligible for Medicare rebates for:

  • the development of a treatment and management plan by a general practitioner or by a specialist or consultant physician (for a child under 13 years of age).
  • up to four diagnostic / assessment services delivered by psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, optometrists, orthoptists or physiotherapists to assist the referring practitioner with diagnosis or to contribute to a child’s treatment and management plan (for a child under 13 years of age).
  • up to twenty  treatment services delivered by psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, optometrists, orthoptists or physiotherapists (for a child under 15 years of age, providing a treatment and management  plan is in place before their 13th birthday).

Parents and carers of eligible children are not required to complete a formal application to access the Medicare component of the initiative, but need to be referred by their general practitioner or by a specialist or consultant physician.

The Medicare component of the Better Start initiative is administered by the Department of Health and Ageing.  Further information about the Medicare component of Better Start is available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/children_disability

 

Support for families living in outer regional and remote areas

Families living in outer regional or remote areas may be eligible for a $2,000 one-off support payment.  This payment recognises the difficulties that families living in remote and outer regional areas face in accessing services and will assist with expenses such as travel and home visits.

 

Registering for the Better Start initiative

Parents or carers of eligible children need to register their child for Better Start before they turn six in order to access the early intervention funding.

The Better Start Registration and Information Service (RIS) is operated by Carers Australia.

To register your child for the Better Start initiative, please call the Carers Australia RIS on

1800 242 636.

In order to register for the Better Start initiative families will need to provide proof of:

  • the child's age (e.g. the child’s birth certificate or passport),
  • the child’s residential address (e.g. a recent utilities bill or rates notice),
  • the child’s diagnosis,
  • residential status (if applicable), and
  • the child's Centrelink generated Customer Reference Number (CRN).

Further information

For further information about the Better Start initiative, please visit

www.fahcsia.gov.au/betterstart

Enquiries can also be directed to the Better Start Helpline on

1800 778 581 or emailed to Better.Start@fahcsia.gov.au