Window of Opportunity

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Children are screened for hundreds of conditions when they are born. But while cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood, it still isn’t one of them.

Too often parents are simply told to ‘wait and see’ – meaning 3 in every 4 babies with cerebral palsy aren’t diagnosed until after 6 months.

There’s a window of opportunity in the first 12 months when treating CP can make a lifetime of difference. But most children are missing that window, and missing out on early treatment that improves their chances of moving, eating, communicating and living more independently when they grow up.

The Window of Opportunity campaign is calling for BaMS for Bubs – a national Baby Movement Screening program for every child born in Australia.

Sign the petition and ask the Federal Government to make BaMS for Bubs a reality!

BaMS for Bubs is simple:

  • Babies between 12 and 16 weeks are observed by a trained health worker, either in person or over video
  • The health worker watches their movements and identifies whether they show signs of CP
  • Babies with a higher probability of CP are fast-tracked for further testing and treatment.

You can read more in our Window of Opportunity report, available right here.

Our modelling shows that in just ten years, BaMS for Bubs would identify 3,750 babies whose cerebral palsy would otherwise go undetected until later in life.

And it’s not just those children who will benefit. Through improved mobility outcomes and independence, around $17 million would be saved in the first 10 years of a national BaMS for Bubs program. This would accumulate to a lifetime benefit of over $1.16 million for every child at risk of developing CP who receives early screening.

Sign the petition and ask the government to open the window of opportunity for every Australian child. Don’t wait and see. Screen for CP!

Read the petition here

To the Hon. Greg Hunt, Minister for Health,

(cc Disability Minister Linda Reynolds and Prime Minister Scott Morrison)

Dear Minister,

Australia has a world-class health system, but right now hundreds of babies born with cerebral palsy and other similar disabilities are falling through the cracks.

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood. But the screening for cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions, the General Movement Assessment (GMA), is not included in the standard tests that all infants receive to identify risks to their health. The result is that 3 in 4 babies born with cerebral palsy aren’t diagnosed until after 12 months.

Treating cerebral palsy in the first 12 months can drastically improve mobility outcomes and the ability to live independently, but most children are missing that crucial window of opportunity because there is no universal diagnostic process for cerebral palsy in Australia.

Every Australian baby, no matter where they are born, deserves the chance to live the best possible life. With our nation’s advanced technology and resources, there is no reason why a cerebral palsy screening should be excluded from our infant health program.

The aggregated cost saving of earlier screening for CP is estimated to be at least $217 million in the first 10 years of the program. Given the average per person cost of cerebral palsy is $145,642 per annum, the lifetime benefit for each child receiving early screening could be $1.16M or more per person.

These benefits will accumulate over a person’s lifetime as more people born with cerebral palsy are able to live a more independent and fulfilling life. You can read more about these outcomes in the Window of Opportunity report: http://cpactive.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Window-of-Opportunity-report-v8.3.pdf

The Window of Opportunity campaign asks the Federal Government to introduce a universal GMA for every baby born in Australia, so that we can truly lead the world in infant health.

Window of Opportunity

Sign the petition

Ask the Federal Government to open the window of opportunity for every child!

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