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Finding Accessible and Affordable Childcare

Finding Quality Child Care

Finding quality child care is not an easy task for any parent. For a parent with a child with disabilities, it can seem impossible. Trusting someone else to care for your child, whether it is for an extended amount of time while you are at work, or for shorter periods while you run errands, seems hard enough without the added worry of a child's special needs.
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Daycare providers are sometimes reluctant to accept children with special needs because of fear, and because they lack knowledge in working with children with special needs and disabilities. Providers may have concerns over liability and/or the amount of staff time required to meet the needs of a child with a disability. However, it’s helpful to know that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act says that unless a child’s need meet certain criteria, privately-run childcare programs must accept children with disabilities and make reasonable accommodations for them. Childcare centers cannot assume that a child's disabilities are too severe for them to be integrated successfully into the center's childcare program. The center must make an individualized assessment to see whether it can meet the particular needs of the child without fundamentally altering the childcare program itself. In making this assessment, the caregiver must not react to unfounded preconceptions or stereotypes about what children with disabilities can or cannot do, or how much assistance they may require. Instead, the caregiver should talk to the parents or guardians and any other professionals (such as educators or healthcare professionals) who work with the child in other contexts. Providers are often surprised at how simple it is to include children with disabilities in their mainstream programs.
Of course, as parents, we prefer our children’s caregivers to be comfortable and confident in caring for them. It doesn’t help anyone if the caregivers are nervous or resentful about caring for our children. Talk with the caregiver/daycare center about your child’s needs. Sometimes it is just a matter of educating the caregivers about your child's disability. Offer to assist/train them to understand the unique needs of your child, let them know they can call you any time with questions.
If you want to ensure your child with special needs is in a childcare environment that has the experience and training for their condition, there are resources to help you in your quest for the right childcare provider. You may be able to get more help for childcare in your area from your region's Early Intervention programs, your local school districts, and from disability-specific organizations. We’ve also listed helpful resource links and local service providers, below.

Financial Assistance

Child care can be expensive. Some families will qualify for financial assistance, depending on their income, type of child care needed, and state guidelines. The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) is a federal program that subsidizes child care so parents can work, or attend school or professional training programs. In Utah, family caregivers can apply for a Specified Relative Grant through the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Financial assistance is available if you need it. Take a look at the resources listed below. You might begin your research at Child Care Aware, where you will find your local Childcare Reference and Referral (CCR&R) and your state's inspection reports, their quality rating (QRIS), and the information on required background checks.

Resources

Information & Support

For Parents and Patients

Support

Family Support and Information Organizations (PDF Document 33 KB)
National organizations that provide support, information, and resources to families of children with special health care needs, assembled by Utah Family Voices.

General

Child Care Aware
Child Care Aware helps families learn more about the standards for quality child care and a state -by-state locator for programs.

Care About Childcare
This Utah government website provides families with profiles of childcare providers in Utah, including programs that have training or experience with children with special needs.

Care.com
This website helps match you up with babysitters, nannies, daycare, special needs care, tutors and camps.

Family Caregiver Alliance
Here, you'll find information about education, services, research, and advocacy to support family caregivers. A navigator helps locate services.

Services

Child Care, Special Needs

See all Child Care, Special Needs services providers (10) in our database.

Day Care

See all Day Care services providers (42) in our database.

Early Intervention Programs

See all Early Intervention Programs services providers (52) in our database.

Local Support Groups, Disability/Diag

See all Local Support Groups, Disability/Diag services providers (174) in our database.

For other services related to this condition, browse our Services categories or search our database.

Authors

Author: Tina Persels - 2/2013
Reviewing Author: Gina Pola-Money - 2/2013
Content Last Updated: 2/2013