Navigating the Early Childhood space. A guide for parents and carers

Sunday, March 27, 2022

What is the Early Childhood (formally ECEI) program and how is it funded?

The Early Childhood program is a national program funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The program is available to children up to 7 years of age with a developmental delay or disability and their families to access services and support. The program aims to help develop daily living skills to increase participation in daily activities and build independence for the future. The NDIS has engaged Early Childhood Partners to deliver the program.

How can we contact an Early Childhood Partner?

You can contact an Early Childhood Partner if concerns about your child’s development have been identified. You can use the ‘Find an Early Childhood Partner’ link on the NDIA website here:

You might also receive a referral to an Early Childhood Partner from your paediatrician.

What can an Early Childhood Partner assist us with?

Your Early Childhood Partner will be your initial point of contact for the NDIS and can assist you to understand and access the most appropriate supports for your child. As every child and their needs are different, your Early Childhood Partner will assist you to tailor support to your child’s individual needs and circumstances.

  • Connecting you with useful mainstream services in your area
    Your Early Childhood Partner will also help connect you and your child with the most appropriate mainstream services in your area, such as those available at your local community health centre, playgroups and peer support groups.
  • Finding specialised Early Childhood support for your child
    Your Early Childhood Partner can assist you to access short-term early intervention services where it has been identified as the most appropriate support to help achieve their goals. This could include finding a speech pathologist or occupational therapist.
  • Monitoring your child’s progress
    Your Early Childhood Partner will monitor and review your child’s progress against the goals you have set. Your Early Childhood Partner and service providers will support your family to improve your child’s independence and participation in everyday activities.
  • Understanding the potential role of the NDIS
    Where your child may require longer term Early Childhood intervention supports, your ECP can help you request access to the NDIS. If eligible, your ECP will help develop your child’s NDIS plan. Once your child has access to the NDIS, the ECP will work with your family to explain and implement the NDIS plan.

What is Support Coordination and how is this funded in the program?

When your child’s NDIS plan is developed, the NDIA may consider the complexity of your family situation, the impact of your child’s disability and assess if additional support to implement your child’s NDIS plan is needed. You can also discuss your preference for support coordination with your Early Childhood Partner when developing your child’s plan.

Support coordination is funded through the NDIS and is a capacity building that helps people and/or their informal supports to understand the NDIS framework, build skills and develop confidence in managing services and providers independently. When support coordination is funded in a child’s plan, the Support Coordinator is responsible for assisting plan implementation. If Support Coordination is not funded, the Early Childhood Partner can provide this support.

What can I expect from a Support Coordinator or Specialist Support Coordinator at Marli and Moe?

The team at Marli and Moe are led by our Director Jemma who has navigated the NDIS system since its introduction through her own daughter Marli. Our team has extensive personal and professional experience with the NDIS and will support you and your family through the ups and downs, together. This also includes:

  • Support to understand your NDIS plan and how to use it.
  • Resolving crisis issues.
  • Facilitating your child and family’s choice and control.
  • Sourcing and connecting you and your family with NDIS providers.
  • Educating and building capacity to better understand the NDIS and its procedures.
  • Liaising with NDIS providers on the effectiveness of support.
  • Supporting you and your family with applications and reviews.

For more information on how a Support Coordinator can assist you and your family to understand, manage and implement your child’s NDIS plan, please see here:

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