DISCUSSION PAPER ON EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION HIGHLIGHTS RISKS FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN
A discussion paper on the early childhood intervention system released on Monday, 6 March 2023, highlights the risks of the current system for vulnerable children who may miss out on the supports they need at critical points of their development.
The paper was released by the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Best Practice Network, a group of not-for-profit providers of early intervention services and/or early childhood education operating across NSW, VIC, and the ACT.
The Network is calling on candidates in the NSW state election to consider the issues and concerns raised in the paper and commit to positive system improvements in the interests of those vulnerable children.
The introduction of the NDIS has changed the service system landscape and requires reflection and review to ensure that the shared vision and outcomes are being realised. This is particularly important to ensure that the available supports reflect the changing developmental needs of children and young people over time.
The paper, Early Childhood Intervention and Therapeutic Supports for Children and Young People under Age 16 highlights experiences and observations of the new system with a view to prompting discussion about opportunities for improvement and to inform and influence policy decisions.
We fear that under the current system, vulnerable children may not consistently receive the support they need at critical points of their development.
We also fear that without system changes, this will place long-term strain on health, community services, and education services, and that the NDIS itself may not be sustainable.
Koorana Child & Family Services is a member of the ECI Best Practice Network and supports the call to ensure evidence-based best practices are utilised widely in early childhood intervention. We believe that this vision supports the current and long-term sustainability of community service systems, will increase positive outcomes for children and families, and is well-aligned to the vision of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and state governments.
The ECI Best Practice Network supports more than 4,788 children annually in early intervention services under the NDIS, and more than 16,873 children and young people annually in total.
Members of the Early Childhood Intervention Best Practice Network include: