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Disability and parenting support

10-minute read

Key facts

  • If you are caring for a child with a disability, there is lots of support available to you.
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the main way the government supports you and your child and helps them achieve their goals.
  • Centrelink provides a range of payments for carers of children with a disability.
  • There are many other national and state-based support services.
  • Many non-profit organisations and charities also provide resources and practical and emotional support for families of children with disabilities.

What is disability and parenting support?

If you are caring for a child with a disability, there is support available to you. This page will help you find and get the right support for your family.

The government support you get depends on where you live. Some support is for everyone in Australia. Other support is provided by state and territory governments.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

If your child has a significant and permanent disability, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports them and your family. The aim is to help your child in their daily life so they can reach their goals. The NDIS provides support as early as possible to reduce the impact of their disability for the future.

The NDIS is available across Australia. You can check whether your child is eligible.

Other financial support

Payments for carers

Most financial support services are coordinated by Centrelink. You may be entitled to:

  • Carer Payment: An income support payment if you give constant care to someone who has a severe disability.
  • Carer Allowance: An additional fortnightly payment if you give daily care to someone who has a disability.
  • Child Disability Assistance Payment: Up to $1,000 annually for each child who qualifies for Carer Allowance.

There are a range of other payments for carers. Visit the Services Australia website for more information.

You may be able to get respite care. If you need emergency respite, call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.

Financial support for health care

Medicare may pay for health care, screening tests and scans, and some assessment and diagnosis sessions. You can find out more about what Medicare will pay for.

If you’ve spent over a certain amount on medical costs for your family in one calendar year, you may be eligible for extra financial support through the Medicare Safety Net.

You may also be eligible for a Health Care Card. This gives discounts on prescription medication and concession prices on items like public transport tickets, taxi fares and utility bills.

Financial support for child care

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment can contribute towards child care costs associated with providing extra care for your child because of their disability through the Inclusion Support Program. Your childcare service needs to apply for this funding.

If your child is over 5 and has severe and permanent incontinence, you can get financial help from the Continence Aids Payments Scheme (CAPS). Payment is made directly into your bank account.

Support in your state or territory

There are other health and support services available, depending which state or territory you live in. For example, they may pay for aids and equipment to help improve your child’s quality of life.

Non-profit and charity support services

Reimagine Australia helps families of children who have a disability or developmental delay find services and navigate the service system. It’s a good starting point to find out about what services are available to you.

Siblings Australia provides support, information and resources for the siblings and families of children who have a disability, chronic disease or mental illness.

Playgroup Australia is the national peak body representing playgroups. They can help you find a playgroup that will suit your child’s special needs.

There are also many state-based non-profit organisations that provide services and support to children with disabilities and their families, including:

State Organisation Contact
NSW & ACT Northcott 1800 818 286
Vic Yooralla 03 9666 4500
Vic SCOPE 1300 472 673
SA Novita 1300 668 482
WA Activ 08 9387 0555
Tas & Vic Baptcare 13 22 78

Many non-profit organisations provide support and advocacy for people with a specific condition, for example, Vision Australia or Down Syndrome Australia. Depending on your child’s disability, there might be a specific support network available to you.

Parent support groups

There are many parent support groups. My Time can provide you with information and other resources about parenting and caring for children with a disability.

Carers networks

Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service. They provide practical information and useful resources for carers. Search the Carer Gateway website or call 1800 422 737.

Carers Australia represents the interests of over 2 million carers in Australia. For more information about carers and care options for your family, contact Carers Australia.

More information about disability and disability services

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby provides guidance, information and support. They can link you with other support services in your community. Call 1800 882 436 or video call, 7am – midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Raising Children Network provides evidence-based information about disabilities. This includes online forums that connect you with other parents and information on disability services, to help you access and find out more about the services available to you.

Service Seeker is an online tool that finds health and community services in your area.

You can also visit the National Disability Gateway to find and access disability services across Australia.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2022

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