Communities and Justice

NDIS plan preparation and the planning process

This page provides an overview of what to expect for a child or young person during the NDIS plan preparation and assessment phase. Refer to the NDIS Overview for important contextual information about these guidelines and the NDIS. These guidelines are dynamic and will be regularly updated to reflect any changes to procedures or the NDIS model.

Important information 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
  • assisting a child or young person to identify their needs and goals
  • how to prepare for a planning meeting and understanding support coordination
  • plan management options to be able to advise families who are about to go through the NDIS planning process.

What happens during 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 allows participants 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 NDIS 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 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 the parental responsibility of the Minister, OOHC caseworkers must attend the NDIS planning conversation as the child representative, along with the child or young person and their carer. For more information on the planning process, see My NDIS Pathway.

How will the planning meeting be arranged?

A planner is a person representing the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) who helps a participant plan for what they need from the NDIS to attain their goals.

Once the NDIA determines that a child or young person can access the NDIS, an NDIA representative will book an appointment for a planning and assessment conversation with the participant and their family or carer.

For children or young people under the parental responsibility of the Minister, the NDIS representative will contact the agency with case management to arrange the planning meeting. The OOHC caseworker must attend this meeting and make sure that the child or young person and carer attend the meeting, where possible, at a time that’s convenient to them. 

Who can attend the planning meeting?

The child representative should invite people who are able to provide professional input into the development of an NDIS plan. If the child protection worker is the child representative, they must attend the planning meeting. 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.

Where possible, the child or young person should be in attendance as well as any carer.

OOHC caseworkers may consider inviting the OOHC Health Coordinator. At a minimum, casework staff should liaise with the coordinator while preparing for the NDIS planning meeting to seek any relevant information which may contribute to the meeting. A copy of the child or young person’s health management plan should also be obtained, if they have one

How do I need to prepare for the NDIS planning meeting?

An NDIS plan contains two parts:

  1. The participant's statement of goals and aspirations led by the participant and/or their child representative (as appropriate) that specifies the goals and aspirations of the participant and the environmental and personal context of the participant's living.
  2. A statement of participant supports, specifying the general supports that will be provided and any reasonable and necessary supports that will be funded under the NDIS including the approved budget for these individualised supports, the date the NDIA must review the plan, management of funding for supports and management of other aspects of the plan.

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

  1. Gather all the information, including any evidence of the child or young person’s day to day support needs, that needs to be taken to the meeting.
  2. Consider aids/equipment and modifications for the next plan period (usually 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.

A pre planning meeting with key stakeholders (such as the child/young person, their carer and any support coordinator) is recommended prior to the NDIS planning meeting so that you can explore and agree on desired supports and make a plan to gather any evidence. This way all are agreed before meeting with the NDIS planner and the plan conversation will run more smoothly.

As the child representative, OOHC caseworkers 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.

What information needs to be taken to the planning meeting?

Prior to the planning meeting, all relevant information, evidence, reports and case plans need to be collected. Evidence provided during the planning meeting should also include an outline of the child’s day-to-day ‘functional support needs’.

For children or young people in statutory OOHC it will be the role of the OOHC caseworker to work with the carer and the NDIS funded support coordinator (where there is one) 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.

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.

Consider aids/equipment, modification and disability medication requirements

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, in collaboration with the carer. Also look at whether they may need any new or replacement equipment over the next 12 months. For example, if a child or young person requires continence aids, consider the number required.

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.

Understand the supports currently provided to the child or young person

Prior to the planning meeting, it is important for the child’s representative to communicate to the NDIS planner the level of support the child is currently receiving; and what they will require under the NDIS. An outline of the child’s day-to-day functional support needs will also need to be prepared.

For children or young people in statutory OOHC, the OOHC caseworker will need to work with the carer and the NDIS funded support coordinator (where there is one) to list all the activities and functional support the child or young person requires day-to-day and those required less frequently.

Understand the support coordination and plan management options available

The planning meeting provides an opportunity for NDIS participants to decide how their disability supports and the plan funds will be managed.

OOHC caseworkers 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.

Support Coordination

Support coordination is most often included in NDIS plans for children in OOHC, except for children aged 0-7 in the ECA pathway who have access to early childhood coordinators to assist them with plan implementation. This is because most children in OOHC have limited informal supports to help them implement their plan.

A support coordinator will assist in managing and implementing the child’s NDIS plan and arranging for disability service providers to deliver disability supports for the child. There are two different levels of support coordination:

  1. Coordination of Supports – assistance to strengthen a participant’s ability to connect to and coordinate supports in a complex service delivery environment
  2. Specialist Support Coordination – time limited support for participants in circumstances with high level risks, with support focusing 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 .

Plan management options

There are three NDIS plan management options:

  1. Agency managed - where the NDIA manages the funding and pays providers, who must be registered with them. This is the simplest option and is a good option for children in OOHC where NDIS registered providers are readily available.
  2. Plan managed – where a registered plan manager manages the funding and payments. This allows for a little more flexibility due to not having to only use NDIS registered providers. The plan manager will work with the caseworker to track the NDIS plan budget and pay providers of disability supports. If the child lives in an area where there are more limited services, it may be best to use the plan managed option.
  3. Self-managed – where the participant manages the plan themselves and is personally responsible for all payments and employment of staff. This option is not available for children and young people in OOHC.

During the NDIS meeting, the caseworker will need to advise the planner which plan management option they wish to be included in the NDIS plan and request either agency-managed or plan-managed for children in out of home care. 

What support is available to help prepare for the NDIS planning meeting?

The NDIS has developed resources to help people to prepare for and engage in the planning process, available at Creating my plan.

What is the participant statement and why is it important?

Every participant’s plan must include goals, objectives 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 the parental responsibility of the Minister, it will be the responsibility of the OOHC caseworker to work with the child or young person and their carer to draft their participant statement. The identified goals in the participant statement will guide the NDIS planner in the assessment of the reasonable and necessary supports required for that child.

Reasonable and necessary: The NDIS funds supports and services that relate to a person’s disability to help them achieve their goals. They need to be fair (reasonable) and needed (necessary).

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, and
  • their current disability specific supports.

What does the NDIS provide for children and young people?

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. Supports include community participation, therapeutic and behavioural supports and additional respite and aids and equipment.
  • Where a child is in OOHC, supports 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 depend on the circumstances of the individual child.

What is the NDIS not responsible for?

The NDIS is not responsible for:

  • statutory child protection services, or
  • general parenting programs, counselling, or other supports for families at risk of child protection intervention, or  
  • broad community supports, such as making supports accessible and appropriate for families with disability, or
  • accommodation or residential care for children in OOHC
  • funding or providing standard support to carers of children in OOHC.

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:

14 Apr 2023