Keeping children and young people with disability strong


    CYDA has been privileged over the past few months to engage with so many young people with disability, families of children with disability, disability advocates, partners and other stakeholders whilst we all grapple with the impact of COVID-19. We have heard from almost 700 families and young people about the effect of the crisis on their lives. During these ever-changing times we have been working from home and will soon launch our revamped website and have moved to a new office.

    We all look forward to better news about those impacted by COVID-19 and the changes it has brought to all our lives. While needing to postpone our National Young People with Disability Summit planned for June, we are still continuing to work with a group of young people with disability from around Australia who are co-designing the summit.

    We continue to amplify these messages to government, including endorsing the Open Letter to National Cabinet: Immediate Actions Required for Australians with Disability – COVID-19. We are calling for specific and targeted measures from Australian governments, including the need to prevent discrimination of students with disability in the provision of education. We continue to support the efforts and initiatives of the Australian and state and territory governments as they work in this environment. Australian government announcements have covered a range of services and measures to address risks and concerns.

    CYDA continues to operate throughout this period, and you can contact us.

    The NDIS and COVID-19: Webinars for young people with disability and families

    CYDA and the NDIS are pleased to offer three webinars for young people with disability and families of children with disability. NDIA CEO Martin Hoffman and NDIS staff will provide an overview of the NDIS response to COVID-19 and answer key questions raised by young people with disability and families. Click on a link to register for a webinar.

    Webinar 1: The NDIS and COVID-19: Information for families (NDIS participants under 7 years) – view webinar recording and transcript

    Webinar 2: The NDIS and COVID-19: Information for families and young people (NDIS participants between 7 and 18 years) – view webinar recording and transcript

    Webinar 3: The NDIS and COVID-19: Information for families and young people (NDIS participants aged between 18 and 25 and beyond) – 3pm Tuesday 12 May

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disability Information Helpline

    There is now a Disability Information Helpline for referrals for people with disability and their supporters about coronavirus (COVID-19). You can contact the helpline in the following ways:

    • Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
    • If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677. The helpline is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 7pm (AEST). It is not available on national public holidays.

    NDIS – information and resources

    NDIS website updates

    • Changes to service bookings and cancellations:
      • From 30 March 2020, providers are able to claim 100 per cent of the agreed support price for a cancellation at short notice. This has changed from 90 per cent. Providers can only claim for a cancellation when the participant cancels the service.
      • The definition of ‘short notice cancellation’ has been broadened. From 25 March 2020, participants will be required to give 10 business days’ notice if they do not want to pay the full cost of a support service they cancel.
    • Changes to Local Area Coordinators and Early Childhood Partners office operations: some offices are temporarily closed to the public until further notice but are open to phone and email enquiries/meetings unless indicated.
    • There are updated FAQs for participants and updated 'What happens when...' scenarios, including new Auslan videos presenting 'What happens when...' scenarios for participants.
    • Changes to web chat: the NDIA has changed the webchat to a ‘live chat’ service so NDIS staff can help participants with their personal circumstances once they have verified their identity.
    • Behaviour support and restrictive practices: guidance on the implications of COVID-19 on behaviour support and restrictive practices.
    • Personal protective equipment: when PPE should be used and, if needed, how NDIS providers and self-managing participants can access PPE.

    Education – information and resources

    Providing inclusive education in a time of crisis: principles and recommendations

    The Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education (ACIE), of which CYDA is the Chair and a national Co-Convenor, has developed 'Providing inclusive education for children and young people with disability in a time of crisis'. This document has been provided to all education and disability ministers across the states, territories and Commonwealth and it outlines principles and recommendations to ensure inclusive education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Please contact us with any feedback you have on this document or any other feedback you would like to provide.

    Resources for children and young people with disability

    ACIE has developed the resource ‘Learning at home during a time of crisis: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)’ to help parents support their children while schools are pupil-free or closed. The resource is to assist children and young people with disability and their families to organise and plan for learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    From Monday 14 April, ABC ME will be broadcasting educational programming from 10am-3pm every weekday for Term 2. Primary school content will be aired in the morning and secondary school content in the afternoon. View the ABC TV Education website.

    SPELD QLD has mapped out useful information on assistive technology in its most recent newsletter (pages 12 and 13).

    Childcare updates

    On 2 April 2020, the Federal Government announced that childcare services will now be able to waive out-of-pocket fees for families when a service remains open but children are not attending for COVID-19 reasons. For the 2019-20 financial year, families are entitled to 62 allowable absences, rather than the standard 42 allowable absence days. In turn, services will still be paid the Child Care Subsidy, which can cover up to 85 per cent of the daily fee. This change will apply retrospectively from 23 March 2020 and means services do not have to charge families for childcare they are not using. It will encourage parents not to withdraw from childcare and to make use of absences and additional absences.

    Education advice by government

    Early childhood education information and updates:

    Australia overall information

    New South Wales


    South Australia



    Western Australia

    The latest advice for schools:

    Australian Capital Territory

    New South Wales

    Northern Territory


    South Australia



    Western Australia

    Government advice

    The Australian Government COVID-19 website brings together the latest coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia. You can find information and advice on:

    National Redress Scheme – information and services during coronavirus

    The priority continues to be processing National Redress Scheme applications and delivering outcomes. The Scheme is doing everything possible to process applications and is working closely with participating institutions.

    If you call the National Redress Scheme Information Phone Line (1800 737 377 from Australia or +61 6222 3455 from overseas) you will be able to leave a voicemail message. The Scheme continues to accept and process applications. If you need to lodge a document, provide identity documents or have any queries regarding the Scheme, please contact the National Redress Information Phone Line on the above numbers and leave a message.

    If you need immediate support, 24-hour telephone assistance is available through:

    Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

    MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

    Lifeline: 13 11 14

    If you need assistance with your National Redress Scheme application or emotional support in applying, you can contact a Redress Support Service. We are aware that many providers are operating in a different manner because of the impact of COVID-19. In most circumstances they will be able to provide assistance over the phone.

    Information in other languages

    Other accessible resources and information for people with disability


    Easy Read

    Mental health and wellbeing – information and resources

    Isolation and stress can make it harder to take care of your mental health. Beyond Blue has tips on looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

    The Australian Department of Health has more tips and information on mental health support during COVID-19.

    The Queenslanders with Disability Network has released a person-centred emergency planning tool.

    The Federal Government has announced the establishment of an advisory group and development of a plan “focusing on the unique health needs of people with disability during the coronavirus pandemic”. As more information becomes available about the outputs from this group, we will update our members.

    There are reports of scammers targeting Australians with COVID-19 related scams. See how to stay safe.

    Australia Post is still delivering but there are some changes to services.

    If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or sad, please reach out for support. Talking to someone can help. You can contact:

    Lifeline  13 11 14

    Beyond Blue  1300 22 4636

    Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

    Headspace 1800 650 890.

    Finances and employment – information and resources

    Details for ongoing support:

    Australian Government Support Payments

    Australian Government coronavirus information and support for business

    The National Debt Hotline website has step-by-step guides explaining how to fix common debt problems. You can also call the helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak with a financial counsellor.

    Find a financial counsellor in your area.

    Stay in touch

    You can stay in touch with CYDA about the COVID-19 situation by contacting us.


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