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Better Start Equality
Petition Background (Preamble):
Better Start aims to increase access to early intervention for children with developmental disabilities and comes into place on 1 July 2011.
Under the scheme, children up to the age of 6 may access up to $12,000 for treatments, while Medicare rebates will be available to older children.
The Better Start initiative excludes thousands of Australian children with developmental disabilities as eligibility is limited to five diagnoses only; sight and hearing impairments, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome. Children with Autism are already able to access a similar level of support through the Helping Children with Autism program.
Children excluded from Better Start comprise those with rare conditions, genetic syndromes and chromosomal abnormalities, acquired brain injuries and other physical disabilities, and those without a diagnosis. These children have comparable early intervention needs and many are able to prove the beneficial impact of such treatment. Already among the most marginalised in Australia with poorer access to treatments, research and support, these children will miss out on the help they critically need in the early years of development.
This petition calls on the Federal Government to remove the inequalities of the Better Start policy by adopting a needs-based model. Eligibility for Better Start should be determined by the functional aspects of the child’s disability, the level of impairment and how the impairment affects the child. This approach complies with recommendations contained in the Draft Productivity Commission Report on Disability Care and Support.
The Australian Government must give all Australian children with developmental disabilities a Better Start to life, not just a select few.
The petition of the undersigned shows:
Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) urgently requires reform. The Better Start policy excludes thousands of Australian children with developmental disabilities in need of early intervention services. These children have comparable early intervention needs and similar developmental disabilities as those with eligible conditions, and many are able to prove the beneficial impact of such treatment.
The inequalities of Better Start must be removed to allow all Australian children with developmental disabilities access to the support they need in the critical early years of development.
Your petitioners ask that the Senate:
Act urgently and effectively to amend the Better Start for Children with Disability policy so that:
• there is no longer inequality of access to effective treatment for Australian children with developmental disabilities;
• the current eligibility criteria is abolished and replaced with a needs-based model whereby eligibility is determined by the functional aspects of the child’s disability, the level of impairment and how the impairment affects the child;
• the policy considers recommendations contained in the current Draft Productivity Commission Report on Disability Care and Support.
The Better Start Equality petition to Australian Senate was written by Better Start Equality and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: better start, children with disability, better start equality, better start exclusion, rare disease, disability