National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI)

Early in 2016 the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) announced that it would implement a nationally consistent approach to supporting children with disability (0-6 years) under the NDIS: the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention approach (ECEI).

The NDIA worked with early childhood practitioners and researchers to design the approach, with key design aspects of the approach being informed by the NSW Strengthening supports for children and families 0-8 years: Now and into the future.

The aim of ECEI is inclusion, with children supported in a range of mainstream early childhood settings such as preschool and play group, meaning increased opportunities to learn and develop positive social relationships.

The NDIA’s approach to providing ECEI supports under the full scheme NDIS will be in place from July 2018 when the NSW transition is complete.

A list of Year 1 ECEI transitional are now available from the National Disability Insurance Agency website  https://www.ndis.gov.au/ecei/NSWeceiproviders.html

ECEI during NDIS transition in NSW

The NDIA has been working collaboratively with the Department of Family and Community Services, the Commonwealth Department of Social Services and Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) NSW/ACT to connect the existing NSW ECEI arrangements with the NDIS, as a transitional arrangement until the national model is commissioned.

The ECEI transition arrangements have now formally commenced in NSW.

The transitional approach for children 0-6 will operate until 30 June 2018 with the NDIA running a competitive sourcing process for long term ECEI arrangements from 1 July 2018. Families of children aged 7 and above will be supported by local area coordinators.

The NSW transitional approach recognises that a significant proportion of early childhood providers are already funded by FACS to provide supports consistent with the NDIA’s ECEI approach.

It is designed to enable these service providers to continue to work with children and families during transition to connect them with mainstream services in their local areas and provide information and support.

Service providers participating in the transitional arrangements need to be an existing early childhood intervention service provider currently delivering supports similar to the NDIA gateway functions under an existing FACS Funding Agreement. The functions performed by early childhood intervention providers which align with the NDIA ECEI approach include:

  • functional assessment and provision of short term specialist supports
  • developing and reviewing individual support plans
  • assisting children and families to access NSW and Commonwealth disability supports
  • referring children and families to mainstream and community-based support options
  • building community inclusion and capacity.

This arrangement has been piloted in the Nepean Blue Mountains area of NSW as part of the early rollout of the NDIS, commencing 1 July 2015. It will ensure that there is an orderly transition between the current NSW arrangements and the new national model.

Beyond ECEI, direct services to children and young people will be funded through individual plans and are not included in the ECEI approach.

The arrangements will be put in place initially across Year 1 Transition districts, with arrangements for year 2 transition districts to be confirmed in early 2017.

There are a number of providers across NSW who deliver important supports to children and young people. Those providers are well placed to continue to be fully involved in direct service delivery to children throughout transition.

All funding for direct services to children and young people will progressively transition from NSW to the NDIS as existing clients begin participating in the NDIS.

All providers who meet NDIA registration requirements will be able to continue to provide early intervention supports to children under NDIS plans, and will have the potential to grow this part of their business.

To find out more about ECEI, click here: https://ndis.gov.au/ecei