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How to Find Child Care for a Child with Special Health Care Needs

Smiley and happy Girl With Down Syndrome wearing bright yellow shirt.

Finding appropriate child care for a child with special health care needs can be a challenging and overwhelming task. Parents must ensure that the care environment is not only safe but also meets their child’s unique needs. 

This article offers a guide to help parents navigate this complex process, from identifying specific care requirements to selecting the right provider.

  1. Understanding Your Child’s Needs

The first step in finding suitable child care is to have a clear understanding of your child’s specific health care needs. This includes:

  1. Researching Child Care Options

There are several types of child care options available, each with its own set of advantages and challenges:

  1. Evaluating Potential Child Care Providers

When evaluating potential child care providers, consider the following factors:

  1. Interviewing Care Providers

Conduct thorough interviews with potential care providers to assess their suitability. Use the “Choosing Quality Child Care for Children with Disabilities and High Support Needs” checklist in the Resources section below. Key questions to ask include:

  1. Work with Your Child’s Health Care Providers

Work closely with your child’s health care providers to ensure that their needs are fully understood and met. This can involve:

  1. Utilizing Resources and Support Networks

There are numerous resources and support networks available to help parents find and evaluate child care options:

  1. Trial Period and Ongoing Evaluation

Before making a long-term commitment, consider arranging a trial period with the chosen child care provider. This allows you to observe how well the provider meets your child’s needs and make any necessary adjustments. Ongoing evaluation is also crucial:

Finding the right child care for a child with special health care needs requires careful planning, thorough research, and ongoing collaboration. By understanding your child’s unique needs, evaluating potential providers rigorously, and utilizing available resources, you can ensure that your child receives the high-quality care they deserve. This proactive approach not only provides peace of mind but also fosters a supportive and nurturing environment where your child can thrive.


Checklist: Choosing Quality Child Care for Children with Disabilities and High Support Needs, a tool developed by Child Care Aware of America available through The Children’s Cabinet.

Child Care Provider Search Portal – Search for licensed providers in your area, check licensing reports, quality ratings, and additional information on potential child care providers.

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies – Get help finding a child care provider that meets you and your child’s unique needs:

Parent Support Groups:

Nevada PEP is a nonprofit organization that assists families of children with disabilities and behavioral health needs. 

Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation offers resources and supports to for children who are visually impaired.

Family Navigation Network, Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities – University of Nevada Reno provides support and resources for children and youth with special health care needs, their families, and the professionals who serve them.

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