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Foster care: support for a child with a disability

Each child or young person with a disability is entitled to have an individualised National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan tailored to their goals, personal circumstances and disability support needs.

The NSW Government retains responsibility for protecting the wellbeing of children including arranging out-of-home care. This includes ensuring any care arrangement is appropriate and sustainable. The NDIS will support a child’s disability related needs, such as aids and equipment, supports to access the community and transport.

Generally, entering out of home care would be a significant change in a child’s circumstances and as a result a child’s individual plan would be reviewed. This discussion would include any changes to a child’s nominees, as well as considering whether the child’s support needs have changed as a result of their change in caring arrangements.

You can read about what is involved in reviewing an NDIS plan.

The types of supports that the NDIS may fund that may have direct or indirect benefits for you as a carer include:

  • personal care to support an individual in your home or the community
  • supports to assist the child or young person with disability to enjoy social and community interaction without relying solely on you as their carer
  • assistance with tasks of daily living, including help to improve your child’s ability to do things
  • supported employment services and help for young people to move to work programs that prepare them for work
  • training related to the caring role that may enhance your ability to provide care.

You can read more about support available for families.

Understanding an NDIS Plan

A child or young person’s NDIS plan has 2 parts:

  1. Participant statement of goals and aspirations
  2. Statement of participant supports

The statement of goals and aspirations is prepared by the participant, or if they are under 18, by the child’s representative.

For children and young people under Parental Responsibility of the Minister, the OOHC caseworker, carer and child or young person will need to work together to develop the statement. The statement needs to describe the goals, objectives and aspirations of the participant and their environmental and personal context (social/community and personal relationships).

The statement of participant supports is prepared by the NDIS representative with input from the child or young person, their carer or key family members, OOHC casework staff and available assessments that specifies:

  • The general supports (if any) that will be provided; these may include support that is provided by the carer and support delivered through the child or young person’s OOHC case management plan.
  • The reasonable and necessary supports (if any) that will be funded under the NDIS
  • The date or the circumstances in which the NDIA must review the NDIS plan
  • The arrangements for managing the funding of supports under the NDIS plan
  • The management of other aspects of the NDIS plan.

Learn more about NDIS planning process, including reasonable and necessary supports

What if you are not satisfied with the NDIS scheme for a child in your care?

A carer can change providers if they are unhappy with the way support is being provided to a child in their care.

If you’re not satisfied with the supports being provided under the child or young person’s current NDIS plan, you should discuss your concerns with your OOHC caseworker in the first instance.

Carers and caseworkers need to work together to ensure the best outcomes are achieved for children and young people in OOHC.

Attending an NDIS planning meeting 

Your OOHC caseworker will include you in deciding who should attend the meeting about a child in your care.

However, the meeting is usually attended by an NDIS representative, the OOHC caseworker, you and where possible the child or young person.

You and your caseworker may also invite other important people in your child’s life who can provide valuable input to their NDIS plan such as the Local Health District OOHC Coordinator, an occupational therapist, teacher or support person.

All relevant information, evidence, reports and plans including Health Management Plans and Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) case plans should be taken to the meeting.

For children or young people in the Parental Responsibility of the Minister, it will be the role of OOHC casework staff to work with the carer to collect relevant materials and take them to the meeting. This includes drafting the Participant Statement of goals and aspirations, listing the current supports the child or young person currently receives, including day to day carer supports and consideration of the aids, equipment and modifications the child or young person might require over the next 12 months.

Children and young people currently receiving NSW direct disability supports will receive an information pack with their latest assessments and plans relating to their disability. For children or young people in Parental Responsibility to the Minister, the OOHC casework staff attending the NDIS planning meeting should receive a copy of this information pack.

Ongoing support for implementing an NDIS plan

Responsibility for ongoing tasks related to engaging and coordinating disability supports under an NDIS plan is best undertaken by an NDIS Support Coordinator to ensure carers and caseworkers can focus on their core role for the child or young person.

During the NDIS planning meeting with the NDIS representative, Carers, and OOHC casework staff should request Support Coordination to be included in the child or young person’s NDIS plan. It should be explained to the NDIS representative that they will not be in a position to provide coordination of disability specific supports or be best placed for ongoing NDIS plan management.

A Support Coordinator can help implement a child or young person’s plan and manage their supports by:

  • understanding and monitoring their plan
  • choosing and connecting with service providers
  • exploring and linking with community and mainstream services and help coordinating these as required
  • navigating the NDIS Participant Portal called ‘MyPlace’.

Read more about NDIS support coordination

Responsibility for ongoing tasks related to managing invoicing and reporting on the expenditure of supports under an NDIS plan is best undertaken by an NDIS Plan Manager.

There are 2 options for NDIS plan management:

  • Agency Managed: the NDIS pays your support providers directly
  • Plan Management Provider Managed: the NDIS pays your Plan Management Provider who is responsible for managing your funding and paying your support providers.

One of these options needs to be requested during the NDIS planning meeting.

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Last updated: 31 Mar 2020