Communities and Justice

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS is an Australia-wide scheme, supporting people with permanent and significant disability. The NDIS has replaced the specialist NSW disability service system.

The NDIS takes a flexible, whole-of-life approach to working with participants, their families and carers, to develop individualised plans. Participants are people with a disability who have been accepted for NDIS supports.

The NDIS gives people with disability choice and control over the supports they receive, so they can live life their way, achieve their goals and participate in the community.

The NDIS works to connect participants with community and mainstream supports and funds additional reasonable and necessary supports to help participants pursue their goals and aspirations, and participate in daily life.

The role of the NDIS is to provide reasonable and necessary disability supports. The level and type of supports that will be funded through the NDIS will depend on the individual needs of each child or young person and the National Disability Insurance Agency’s  assessment of reasonable and necessary support. DCJ continues to be responsible for funding the mainstream services that are the responsibility of the department, including making its services accessible and appropriate for families with disability (e.g. day-to-day care for children and young people in statutory OOHC, provision of child protection services and supports)

What is the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)?

The NDIA is the Commonwealth agency that manages and delivers the NDIS. More information can be found at

Who will represent a child or young person?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, assumes that children and young people under the age of 18 are generally unable to make decisions for themselves and will be represented by the person or agency who holds parental responsibility. This person is referred to as the ‘child representative’ and will be responsible for making decisions in accordance with the child’s best interests.

For children and young people under the parental responsibility of the Minister, the DCJ or NGO OOHC caseworker will be the child representative, but it is expected that carers will also be consulted by caseworkers in any NDIS decision-making related to a child in their care.  

There are two scenarios where casework staff may not be the child or young person’s representative:

  • Where a child or young person wishes to represent themselves, and the NDIA is satisfied that it is appropriate for the child or young person, that they are capable of making decisions for themselves, and that they are able to understand the consequences.
  • Where the Minister has agreed in writing that the NDIA can appoint another person to be the child’s representative. This is only available in exceptional circumstances.

Consistent with the general principles of the NDIS, each child or young person should be supported to participate in planning discussions and build capacity to make their own decisions. For children or young people in statutory OOHC, it will be the role of OOHC caseworkers to ensure the child or young person actively participates in discussions and decisions about their disability supports, according to their capacity. Carers must also be included in all planning and conversations about the child and their disability support needs.

Where the Minister and another person(s) share parental responsibility, the child representative will be determined by examining how aspects of parental responsibility have been allocated. OOHC caseworkers should actively participate in the NDIS planning process and plan reviews, regardless of whether they are the child representative or not.

What is a nominee under the NDIS?

Nominees are only applicable to participants over 18 years and may be useful to consider if a young person leaving care is likely to need assistance in making decisions about their disability support, but where a Guardianship Order is not required.

If a guardianship arrangement is in place (under the Office of the Public Guardian) the Guardian will be appointed as the nominee.

Nominees will have a duty to ascertain the wishes of the participant and make decisions that maximise their personal and social wellbeing.

For more detailed information, refer to Guardians and nominees explained

What is the Early Childhood Approach (ECA)?

ECA enables young children aged under 7 years to gain timely access to best-practice early childhood intervention.

ECA is designed to connect children with disability and their families with mainstream services in their local areas early to provide information and support.

ECA partners can perform the following tasks:

  • functional assessments and provision of short term specialist supports
  • developing and reviewing individual support plans
  • assisting children and families to access disability supports
  • referring children and families to mainstream and community-based support options
  • building community inclusion and capacity.

OOHC caseworkers should contact their local ECA Partner to access ECA. You can search for NDIA partners at Contact NDIS.

What if I have a question or need more information or clarification?

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 speak to your local DCJ representative.

Last updated:

16 Dec 2022