A child representative is a person who does things and makes decisions about the NDIS on behalf of a child participant. This does not affect any other duties or responsibilities of anyone else caring for or making decisions on behalf of a child. A child representative is different to a nominee. Nominees, and other supports for decision making, are available for participants over the age of 18.
Most of the time the person, or persons who have parental responsibility for the child under the NDIS Act, will be the child representatives. If you are a child’s parent or parents, you will usually have parental responsibility and be the child representatives automatically.
The parent, or parents, will have parental responsibility under the NDIS, unless:
- the child has a guardian
- a Court or Tribunal has made an order changing parental responsibility for the child or a parenting order in relation to the child
- the Agency has made a decision to change the child representatives.
A participant under the age of 18 will usually have at least one child representative who will act for and make decisions about NDIS matters for them. Child representatives have a duty to learn the wishes of the child and act in their best interests. This is because, in most cases, the child will need someone to make decisions about NDIS matters on their behalf.
A person with parental responsibility will usually apply on behalf of a child to access the Scheme. You can find out more about who can apply on behalf of a child in Access to the NDIS .
There are different criteria we need to think about when deciding whether to change a child representative.
What do we mean by parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility is a legal definition we use to identify who has authority to act and make decisions on behalf of a child. Parental responsibility determines who will be a child representative or representatives automatically. There are different rules about who has parental responsibility. A person with parental responsibility will either be:
- The person or persons who meet one of the 2 parental conditions. In most cases this will be the child’s parent or parents.
- The child’s guardian, if they have one.
What are parental conditions?
Parental conditions is a legal definition we use to determine who has parental responsibility for a child when a guardian hasn’t been appointed. There are 2 parental conditions. If a person meets either of the conditions, they have parental responsibility and will be a child representative, unless we decide otherwise.
Parental condition 1
A person meets parental condition 1 if they are the child’s parent, and a Court or Tribunal order has not removed parental responsibility from them.
Parental condition 2
A person meets parental condition 2 if they are identified in a parenting order as a person who either:
- the child lives with
- the child spends time with
- is responsible for the child’s day-to-day and long-term care, their welfare and helping the child’s development in life.
For example, the Family Court of Australia may make a parenting order. It states a family member, such as an aunt, has parental responsibility for a child. In this case, we will consider the person named in the parenting order to have parental responsibility for the child.