NDIA announces appointment of new Early Childhood Partners in NSW
The Federal Government has announced the appointment of six organisations to deliver the NDIA’s Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach across New South Wales at full scheme from July 1 2018.
The ECEI approach supports children aged zero to six years who have a developmental delay or disability and their families and carers. It supports families to help children develop the skills they need to take part in daily activities and achieve the best possible outcomes throughout their life. Supports include services such as functional assessments, short-term, targeted speech and occupational therapy, information about local community and mainstream services, support for families and carers, and assistance to access the NDIS for those children who may need longer-term support.
The NDIS has engaged new Early Childhood Partners around Australia, following two years of transitional ECEI provider arrangements in NSW. Six organisations have been appointed to deliver the NDIA’s ECEI approach across NSW at full scheme, from 1 July, 2018.
Five of the successful Early Childhood Partners have been NSW ECEI transition providers and two have experience in the delivery of the national ECEI model.
The organisations that will deliver the approach are as follows:
- Lifestart will provide across South Eastern Sydney, Sydney, and Nepean Blue Mountains. Lifestart will also be a new presence in the service areas of the Central Coast, Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
- Northcott will cover the Hunter New England, Mid North Coast, Northern NSW, and Western Sydney Service Areas.
- Mission Australia will move into the Far West and Western NSW Service Areas for the first time.
- EACH is the partner for the South Western Sydney, and Southern NSW Service Areas. EACH is new to NSW, but has experience as the ECEI Partner for the Ipswich region of Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
- Intereach has been allocated the Murrumbidgee Service Area.
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance will provide ECEI supports in the Northern Sydney Service Area.
The new partners will leverage existing relationships and their ECEI experience, and work closely with the outgoing ECEI providers to ensure all children are supported during the transition to full scheme NDIS in NSW. However, the challenge of establishing new services, new processes and new relationships with local communities and families cannot be understated, and there are concerns about the implications for already substantial waiting periods for children and families trying to access supports, and approaching plan reviews, as doors open in less than a month.
Families with children on waiting lists, children in the gateway or listed for planning but who will not receive this service before 30 June 2018, should expect to be contacted by their existing ECEI provider, providing details of the transition arrangements.
While these ECEI partners can be NDIS-registered providers, families and carers will be able to choose a provider or providers of the funded supports that best meets the needs of the child and their family and any carer. The original statement of requirements for these grants indicated that the partner is only permitted to provide these funded supports in exceptional circumstances.
The NDIA took the opportunity in this announcement to thank the NSW ECEI transition providers for their dedication to children and families and the essential role they have played in establishing the NDIA’s ECEI approach in New South Wales.