Plan Preparation and the Planning Process

This guide provides an overview of what to expect for a child or young person during the NDIS plan preparation and assessment phase. Refer to the Overview for important contextual information about these guidelines and the NDIS.

These guidelines are dynamic and will be regularly updated to reflect a changing NDIS model and procedures as the Scheme is implemented.

Important information and action for OOHC casework staff in this guide includes:

  • inviting the carer to attend the planning meeting
  • liaising with the OOHC Health Coordinator to prepare for the meeting
  • working with the carer to prepare for the meeting
  • attending the planning conversation with the child or young person and carer
  • providing the Health Management Plan to the NDIA representative during the planning meeting, and
  • assisting a child or young person to identify their needs and goals.

Important information for Child Protection casework staff and Early Intervention staff includes how to prepare for a planning meeting and understanding Support Coordination and Plan Management options to be able to advise families who are about to go through the NDIS planning process.

There are five steps involved in the NDIS planning process. These steps are designed to place participants and their goals and aspirations at the centre of the planning process. This is to ensure participants have greater choice and control over their own lives. All young people and children who have capacity to participate should have direct input into the five individual planning steps, which are:

  1. Think about their needs and goals
  2. Meet with their personal planner
  3. Develop their plan and consider how to manage their supports
  4. Implement their plan
  5. Review their plan.

How these five steps are undertaken and supported for a child or young person is dependent on several factors such as:

  • the child or young person’s age
  • the child or young person’s legal status, and case plan goal
  • the child or young person’s care arrangement
  • who holds case management responsibility for the child or young person.

For children or young people in Parental Responsibility to the Minister, casework staff must attend the NDIS planning conversation as the child or young person’s representative, along with the child or young person. It is also the responsibility of casework staff to ensure the carer is invited to attend the planning conversation. For more information on the planning process, see My NDIS Pathway

The NDIS principles guide how the NDIA work with participants when preparing a plan. As far as reasonably practicable a participant’s plan must:

  • be individualised
  • be directed by the participant
  • where relevant, consider and respect the role of family, carers and other persons who are significant in the life of the participant
  • where possible, strengthen and build capacity of families and carers to support participants who are children
  • strengthen and build the capacity of families and carers to support the participant in adult life
  • consider the availability to the participant of informal support and other support services generally available to any person in the community
  • support communities to respond to the individual goals and needs of participants
  • be underpinned by the right of the participant to exercise control over his or her own life
  • advance the inclusion and participation in the community of the participant with the aim of achieving his or her individual aspirations
  • maximise the choice and independence of the participant
  • facilitate tailored and flexible responses to the individual goals and needs of the participant
  • provide the context for the provision of disability services to the participant and, where appropriate, coordinate the delivery of disability services where there is more than one disability service provider.

An NDIS plan contains two parts:

  1. The participant's statement of goals and aspirations prepared by the participant that specifies the goals, objectives and aspirations of the participant and the environmental and personal context of the participant's living; and
  2. A statement of participant supports, prepared with the participant and approved by the NDIA, that specifies the general supports that will be provided and any reasonable and necessary supports that will be funded under the NDIS, the date the NDIA must review the plan, management of funding for supports and management of other aspects of the plan.

The first plan process, called My First Plan, enables a large number of participants to enter the NDIS in a short time while ensuring that NDIS participants remain at the centre of the planning process. A child or young person’s first plan with the NDIS will continue to give them the support they need now and will make sure they have time to learn more about all the options with the NDIS and consider the child or young person’s goals for the next plan.

A planner is a person representing the NDIA and helps a participant to plan for the assistance they need from the NDIS to attain their goals. Once the NDIA determines that a child or young person is able to access the NDIS an NDIS representative will book an appointment for a planning and assessment conversation with the participant and their family or carer.

For children or young people in Parental Responsibility of the Minister, the NDIS representative will contact the FACS Manager Casework (CSC or CFDU as relevant) to arrange the meeting time and day. For FACS-managed placements, Managers Casework will liaise with relevant casework staff to determine whether the Caseworker or the Manager Casework will attend the planning meeting with the child or young person.

For NGO placements, the Manager Casework (CFDU) will give the information relating to arranging the planning meeting to the relevant NGO OOHC provider who will then determine which of their staff will attend the meeting with the child or young person. It is the role of OOHC casework staff (FACS and NGO) to ensure the child or young person and carer are invited to the meeting and that the meeting is scheduled for a time convenient to them.

The child’s representative can invite people who may be able to provide valuable professional input to the development of an NDIS plan. A child or young person’s parent/carer may request their Child Protection Caseworker attend the planning meeting to provide information on the amount/type of support the child requires.

OOHC casework staff may consider inviting the Local Health District OOHC Coordinator. At a minimum, casework staff should liaise with the OOHC Health Coordinator while preparing for the NDIS planning meeting to seek any relevant information about the child or young person which may contribute to the meeting and obtain a copy of the child or young person’s Health Management Plan if they have one.

The following steps need to be undertaken to prepare for the planning meeting:

  1. Gather the information that needs to be taken to the meeting
  2. Consider aids/equipment and modifications for the next 12 months
  3. Consider the supports currently needed including day-to-day carer activities
  4. Help the child or young person draft their participant statement
  5. Understand the Support Coordination and Plan Management options available.

OOHC casework staff as the child’s representative will be responsible for working with the carer to undertake these steps. Early Intervention and Child Protection staff may need to advise families they are working with about how to prepare for the NDIS planning process.

Prior to the planning meeting, all relevant information, evidence, reports and plans, in particular if they have a current ADHC case plan, need to be collected to take to the meeting. For children or young people in statutory OOHC it will be the role of OOHC casework staff to work with the carer to collect relevant materials and take them to the meeting. Early Intervention and Child Protection staff supporting families to access the NDIS can help by advising the family what they should do to prepare.

ADHC clients transitioning to the NDIS will receive a pack of important information containing the most recent information, assessments and plans relating to their disability and disability support from the past 12 months. The important information will be collated by ADHC District staff or FACS funded (disability) service providers, depending on which is supporting the child or young person. For children or young people in the Parental Responsibility of the Minister, the OOHC casework staff attending the NDIS planning meeting should receive a copy of the child or young person’s important information.

OOHC Caseworkers should also obtain a copy of the child or young person’s Health Management Plan, if they have one, to take to the planning meeting.

In preparation for the planning meeting, the child’s representative should list all the aids/equipment, modifications and disability medication the child or young person requires or uses – and whether they may need any equipment replaced or new equipment over the next 12 months. For example, if a child or young person requires continence aids, consider the number required over the course of a month or year. Alternatively, if the child or young person uses a wheelchair, consider whether they are going to outgrow their current chair over the course of the next year and will require a new one.

To ensure continuity of support it will be important for the child’s representative to understand and communicate to the NDIS planner the level of support the child or young person currently receives and requires.

For children or young people in statutory OOHC, casework staff will need to work with the carer to list all the activities and support the child or young person requires on a day to day level and those required less frequently.

The planning meeting provides an opportunity for NDIS participants to decide how the supports under their plan and the plan funds will be managed. FACS and NGO OOHC casework staff and authorised carers are not necessarily well placed to undertake the role of engaging and coordinating disability supports or managing the expenditure of supports under an NDIS plan for a child or young person in OOHC.

Requesting Support Coordination and Plan Management during the planning meeting should prevent this burden falling to the caseworker or carer. Understanding the different options prior to the planning meeting will help ensure you request the most appropriate options.

The NDIA defines Support Coordination as ‘assistance to strengthen participants’ abilities to coordinate and implement supports and participate more fully in the community.’ There are three different levels of support coordination:

  1. Support Connection – time limited assistance to strengthen a participant’s ability to connect with supports, maintain relationships, resolve service delivery issues and participate independently in NDIA issues
  2. Coordination of Supports – assistance to strengthen a participant’s ability to connect to and coordinate supports in a complex service delivery environment
  3. Specialist Support Coordination – time limited support for participants in circumstances with high level risks, with support focussing on addressing barriers, reducing complexity and building capacity and resilience.

For further information about Support Coordination, see the Starting your plan with a Support Coordinator factsheet at Fact sheets and publications. Refer to Develop the Plan and Plan Management Options for further information about Support Coordination and guidance on which Plan Management option to request.

For further information about the responsibilities for participants (or representatives) coordinating supports and managing plan funds themselves, refer to Choosing and Managing Service Providers

The NDIS has developed resources to help people to prepare for and engage in the planning process, available at Starting my plan and also Developing your NDIS plan. In addition, the Carer and Caseworker Checklist Tool has been designed to assist Caseworkers, authorised OOHC carers and a child or young person to prepare for a NDIS Planning meeting.

To help develop a successful statement of participant supports, every participant’s plan must include the participant’s statement of goals and aspirations known as a participant statement. The NDIA prefer the participant to draft the statement prior to the planning meeting ready for discussion with the NDIS planner.

For children and young people in Parental Responsibility to the Minister, it will be the responsibility of OOHC casework staff to work with the child or young person and their carer to draft their participant statement. The participant statement identifies a participant’s personal goals, objectives and aspirations. Further information about the participant statement can be found at Developing your child's participant statement

The NDIS participant statement includes information about:

  • the child or young person’s daily life
  • their current living arrangements
  • any current relationships and supports from other people
  • the child or young person’s goals and how they want to achieve them
  • their current disability specific supports.

The NDIS is responsible for providing:

  • supports for children, families and carers, required as a direct result of a child’s disability, that enable the families and carers to sustainably maintain their caring role, including community participation, therapeutic and behavioural supports and additional respite and aids and equipment
  • supports where a child is in OOHC – that are specific to the child’s disability or developmental delay, and are additional to the needs of children of similar ages, in similar OOHC arrangements. The diversity of OOHC care arrangements is recognised and the level of reasonable and necessary supports will reflect the circumstances of the individual child.

The NDIS is not responsible for:

  • statutory child protection services required by families who have entered, or are at risk of entering, the statutory child protection system, or
  • general parenting programs, counselling or other supports for families at risk of child protection intervention and to the broader community, including making supports accessible and appropriate for families with disability, or
  • funding or providing OOHC or support to carers of children in OOHC where these supports are not additional to the needs of children of similar age in similar OOHC arrangements.

If you have a question about the NDIS and Early Intervention, Child Protection and OOHC email safehomeforlifereform@facs.nsw.gov.au

If you encounter a situation with the NDIS that differs from these guidelines and needs clarification, speak to your manager to determine whether the matter needs to be raised with the NDIA locally or go through the FACS NDIS issues escalation pathway for resolution.