Eligibility and referrals

toddlers hands playing tambourine


Children are eligible to be referred if they:

  • are under the age of 16 years and
  • have a Medicare number and
  • have, or are at risk of, developmental delay or difficulties (i.e. concerns related to speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, social and emotional behaviour).

Children may not be eligible for our services if they are:

  • currently receiving developmental therapy services through another government agency (i.e. Disability Services Commission)
  • have a diagnosed medical issue but are not at significant risk of a developmental delay.

Important referral tips

  • Provide as much information as possible on the referral form and attach any other relevant history, reports and information.
  • Describe the parents’ main concern and how it impacts on the child and family in their everyday life.
  • Consider if it is the right time to make a referral. We understand that sometimes life is busy and parents may not have the time or capacity to participate in services at a particular point in time. Parent participation is key in achieving developmental outcomes for children.
  • Let us know if there are any reasons that may impact on a family’s ability to respond to appointment letters, or attend appointments.

If you are a professional (i.e. teacher, GP), please discuss the above with the family and ensure that the parent understands the reason for referral and has provided consent before submitting.

Making a referral
  • A referral can be made by parents, legal guardians or professionals. 
  • All referrals require parent or guardian consent. 
  • Please read this Referral Information (PDF 218KB) first.
  • Incomplete or overly brief referrals may result in unnecessary delays in clients accessing services.

The Child Development Service is not a crisis service. If a child is at imminent risk of harm to self or others, a referral to an appropriate service should occur as a matter of urgency.

Metropolitan Child Development Service Referral Form

Interactive referral form (PDF 1109KB) 

  • Note: Adobe interactive forms may not be compatible with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. If the interactive Form will not open in your browser, adjust the computer settings or use an alternate browser (such as Internet Explorer). 
  •  When you submit a referral form electronically, you should receive a confirmation email.
If you continue to experience difficulties, please print this referral form (PDF 106KB) then send completed form to:

Referrer checklists

These checklists provide additional information to support a referral to the Metropolitan Child Development Service. Teacher Checklists must be accompanied by a completed Referral form (PDF 1109KB). These checklists should be completed by a health or education professional with knowledge of a child obtained through direct observation over a period of time


Discharge and re-accessing services

Families may leave our service for a range of reasons - by choice, their child completes their service plan, or they change to another service provider.

After families leave our service, they can always contact us again if they have further concerns for their child as long as they still meet our eligibility criteria.

Services may end, and families may need to go through the referral process again, if:

  • they miss an appointment without contacting us
  • they don’t respond to appointment invitations
  • they change their contact details (phone and/or address) without telling us and we can’t contact them.
Other services to consider

Some families choose to pay for private therapy instead of, or sometimes as well as, using our services.

Medicare Programs

Some children may also be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate for a limited number of private service appointments. Please discuss eligibility with yourGP, who will provide a referral if yourchild is eligible. There may be a gap between the Medicare rebate and the private service fee.

For more information phone Medicare (external site) on 132 011.

Accessing Private Services

Some families are interested in exploring private therapy services for their child. Private therapy services are provided outside of the Child Development Service on a fee for service basis from a clinician working in private practice. Your child can still access our child development services if you decide to access private services. 
When choosing a private clinician, it may be helpful to ask some of the following questions to help you decide which provider might be the best fit for you and your child:
  • What are your qualifications? What is your area of specialty?
  • What age group do you usually see? 
  • Where will the service be provided; home, school, clinic?
  • What programs are offered? Is it on a group or individual basis? Will you provide me with a written report? 
  • What will the appointment cost? Do you bulk bill?
  • Are you registered with Medicare and/or my private health insurer to provide rebates? Can you tell me how much the rebate is?
The list below provides links to various professional organisations where you can search for  details of private clinicians that may be relevant to the needs of your child. Please note that these links only cover the services which we also provide, and are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all of the professionals who work in child development.
Occupational Therapy
Paediatrician ​

Please discuss a referral to a private Paediatrician with your GP

Speech Pathology