Inclusion Services for Children with Special Needs

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion means inviting all children to participate in a child care program and intentionally planning for ways to help every child be successful, whether or not that child has an identified disability.

Benefits of Inclusion

Inclusion is a valuable opportunity for everyone: providers, teachers, parents, children, families and facilities. Young children are very accepting and learn quickly from adults who model acceptance. Society benefits when children develop an understanding of individual needs and learn to value and appreciate individual differences.

Inclusion and the Law

Inclusion is required by law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that child care providers not discriminate against persons with disabilities on the basis of disability and that children and parents with disabilities are provided an equal opportunity to participate in the child care center's programs and services. Centers have to make reasonable modifications to their policies and practices to integrate children, parents, and guardians with disabilities into their programs.

Finding an Inclusive Child Care Program

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Offices

Your local CCR&R agency can help you find a suitable program for your child with special needs; this is called an Enhanced Referral. Staff can help locate child care facilities that have training and experience in inclusion of children with special needs. If child care facilities in your area do not have training and experience in inclusion of children with special needs, CCR&R staff can help problem-solve and perhaps help find special needs training for your child care providers.

CCR&R offices are located in seven regions of the state and can be contacted by calling the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588.

The Inclusion Standard of the Quality Rating and Improvement System

Inclusion is one of the eight Quality Standards in the IdahoSTARS Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). The QRIS is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for child care facilities in Idaho. The quality of the facility is rated through a system of five stars, similar to ratings for hotels, movies, and restaurants. The QRIS includes a built-in system for improvement in each of the eight Quality Standards. In this way, the QRIS credits facilities for the quality practices already in place while providing a roadmap to increased quality.

The QRIS Inclusion Standard measures:

  • Tracking of children’s development
  • IdahoSTARS training in Component #9 (Special Needs) taken by the director/owner
  • If programs connect families to resources and outside agencies as necessary

For more information about how your child care provider can conduct Inclusion Evaluation and Planning and classroom methods for Tracking Children’s Development visit our Special Needs and Inclusive Practices page for child care providers.

Also, visit our Choosing Quality Child Care page for more information about selecting care for your child, including links to a Child Care Checklist for Parents and other resources.