The Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) Initiative

Better Start is a funding scheme that allows children with developmental disabilities to access funding for early intervention services.

Eligible children diagnosed with Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Fragile X syndrome, or a moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment, including deaf-blindness, Prader Willi syndrome, Williams syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Kabuki syndrome, Smith-Magenis syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, Cornelia de Lange syndrome, Cri du Chat syndrome, Microcephaly or Rett’s Disorder will have access to funding and new Medicare items under the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative.

The initiative includes the following:

  • Funding for early intervention services and treatments for eligible children under the age of six

  • Medicare items for the development of a treatment and management plan for eligible children under the age of 13

  • Medicare items for up to four allied health diagnostic services and for 20 relevant allied health services (in total) for eligible children up to the age of 15 (provided the treatment and management plan is in place before the age of 13).

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

Carers Victoria is the overseeing body for the Better Start program in Victoria. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed your Paediatrician will provide paperwork which you then provide to Carers Victoria as part of your application for funding. Once your funding has been approved, Carers Victoria will provide paperwork which you bring to KidAbilities OT.

Contact the Better Start Registration and Information Service (RIS) on 1800 242 636 or email betterstart@carersvictoria.org.au and ask about the Better Start program.

Better Start funding can be used to access Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Psychology services. All OT services at KidAbilities OT are paid for by your Better Start funding – this means you have no out of pocket therapy expenses up to the $6000 threshold each financial year. If you reach your $6000 threshold you will need to pay via other means (see other funding options listed here for details).

You are also entitled to use a portion of your funding to purchase approved resources - equipment or tools used as part of your child’s therapy.

Better Start funding cannot be used to pay for late cancellations or missed appointments or for subsidising a gap in a Medicare-funded service.

There may be other funding options available for children who do not meet the criteria for this funding package listed here on our site. Further information is available on our site. For more information on the Better Start initiative, see the Department of Social Services: Better Start website