What is a ‘Key Worker’, and how can a Social Worker help?

  • 3 mins

If your child is 0-7 years old and is currently accessing NDIS through the early intervention pathway, you probably hear the NDIS talk a lot about the ‘Key Worker’ and having a ‘Key Worker’, but what is it?

The NDIA identify a Key Worker as an early childhood intervention professional (such as a Social Worker, Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Psychologist etc.). The Key Worker works alongside the family/carer to support the child’s progress towards achieving their NDIS goals. The Key Worker liaises with the child’s allied health team and other services (e.g. Childcare and Kindergartens) to facilitate collaborative working.

A Key Worker helps you access timely, targeted, and individualised early childhood intervention supports for your child by supporting you to engage with disability and mainstream services, such as health, early learning and care, education, family, as well as community services.

A Key Worker helps to provide wrap-around support, so that you have a team of supports that work collaboratively to support your child. Because of these reasons, this is why NDIS says having a key worker is best practice in the early intervention space!

All Allied Health Professionals (Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Dietitians, Physiotherapists, Psychologists etc.) can work effectively in the Key Worker role, but did you know that there is a wealth of research that indicates that a Social Worker is well-equipped to take on this role?

When Social Workers provide services, they look beyond the child and/or individual, as they are trained to work systematically to ensure that all systems (education, health, disability etc.) work together to help a person.

This is important because, as the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child!”, and because of this, Social Workers want everyone (family, teachers, therapists, doctors etc.) to work as a team so that we can help you create environments that are supportive for your child.

When selecting a therapist to work as your Key Worker, it is important to consider the following:

  • Do I feel comfortable with this person?
  • Does this therapist have the capacity to take on the extra responsibilities of key worker?
  • What do I feel I need help with the most?
  • Does this person have the knowledge/experience needed to help me with what I need?

Below is a summary of what a Key Worker and/or Social Work can support you with at HenderCare:

  • Linking in with community groups and supports (i.e. parent-led support groups for parents/carer givers caring for children with disabilities)
  • Linking you in with other government/health agencies to get disability-related supports for your child
  • Understanding your NDIS plan and budgets
  • Support you to link in with appropriate NDIS services/therapies
  • Help you identify and prioritise therapy goals for your child
  • Coordinate therapy services (i.e. schedule team collaborations between your therapists)

To find out more about our Key Worker services, don’t hesitate to contact the Manager of Allied Health, Mandy De Cesare at mandy.decesare@hendercare.com.au.

To find out more about Social Work services at HenderCare, click here.

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