Inclusive Child Care Programs create flexibility to meet the individual needs of children with special needs or disabilities within these child care settings. Support may include training for child care staff, consultation on programming or inclusion, resource and referral information and/or funding for additional staff.
In Canada, full inclusion of children with disabilities in regular child care is considered a key part of high quality early childhood education and child care. All provinces/territories provide some financial support to assist regulated child care providers to include children with disabilities in their programs.
Funds are generally paid directly to child care programs to help with extra costs (for example, additional staffing, special equipment, resource consultant).
Parents must pay regular child care fees or access a subsidy but usually do not pay for additional supports related to including a child with a disability.
Some provinces/territories or regions use an “itinerant consultant” model whereby a consultant with specialized training works with multiple child care programs to provide support to children and to staff.
Usually individual child care programs have considerable discretion in deciding how, and if, they will include a child with a disability. The program’s finances, resources and inclination all play a role in determining whether full inclusion is provided or even whether a child with special needs is accepted at all.
Source: findingqualitychildcare.ca; humanservices.alberta.ca
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