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Coming together for children with disabilities: State collaboration to support quality, inclusive child care

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Child care and early education series brief number 4
Mezey, Jennifer; Beh Neas, Katherine and Irish, Kate
Publication Date: 
1 Dec 2003

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpts from policy brief:

This policy brief summarizes a new study of policies to provide special education and early intervention services to low-income children with disabilities in child care programs. Report from CLASP and Easter Seals discuss challenges that low-income families face; presents the findings of a survey of administrators of state child care and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs; explains the importance of collaboration among these programs; and suggests policy recommendations for federal and state governments.

States use funding from many different programs to provide child care, special education, early intervention, and supportive services to children with disabilities and their families; these programs include the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Child Care and Development Fund block grant (CCDF), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The CLASP-Easter Seals survey has found that state CCDF and IDEA programs are collaborating at both the state and local levels in an effort to provide quality, inclusive child care services for children with disabilities. While state respondents identified barriers to collaboration at both the federal and state levels, these barriers have not precluded collaborative efforts in the surveyed states.

However, in the current fiscal climate, great unmet need remains for quality child care that can support the healthy development of children of all abilities, as well as the work of their parents. States face tremendous challenges in just maintaining current levels of accessibility and quality of child care, special education, and early intervention services - let alone expanding services or creating new collaborative activities. This survey indicates that, while progress is being made to bring together child care and IDEA services, more needs to be done to build on these efforts.