Child care providers in Washington who serve kids with special needs can get a boost from the state with a new initiative by the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
The Child Care Complex Needs Fund, announced this week by the DCYF, will provide $4.5 million in grants through 2023.
Grants will be awarded based on competitive bids from licensed or certified child care providers who both have served children receiving state subsidies and currently have children with developmental delays, disabilities, behavioral needs, or other unique needs.
Grants will range from $5,000 to $100,000 and may be used for added staffing, therapeutic services, facility improvements for accessibility or to accommodate behavioral needs, teacher training, and materials and equipment to support complex-needs children.
U.S. Census bureau data indicates that about 1 percent of children under the age of five have some form of disability.
Funding for the initiative is provided by the Fair Start for Kids Act, which was established by the state legislature last year.
The Act provides a total of $1.1 billion for various improvements in the state’s child care and early learning system, including increasing affordability, accessibility, and support for providers.
There were about 5,200 licensed child care facilities in the state as of December 2021, according to Child Care Aware.
A child with complex needs cannot be refused admittance to a child care facility without an individual assessment by the provider to determine whether it can meet the child’s needs without fundamentally altering its program, according to a report by the Center for Children with Special Needs at Seattle Hospital.
Licensed child care providers can learn more about the Child Care Complex Needs fund by visiting the fund’s website. Assistance in completing a grant application is available from the DCYF. The deadline is June 21.
This article was originally posted on Washington offers $4.5M in grants for special needs child care