Choosing child care

Contacting  211   is the best place to start your search for child care.  Be sure to let them know your criteria for things that are important to your child and family.  You can click HERE to read the basics about child care options in Oregon so that you know what questions to ask and can find where your child might fit best.

Finding Child Care: A Guide for Oregon Families  This publication from the Oregon Child Care Resource and Referral Programs offers detailed information on child care choices, including types of care and programs that help pay for care.   The Finding Child Care Guide is available in English and Spanish.

Choosing care for children with diverse abilities and needs

Selecting child care for a child experiencing a disability, an emotional or behavioral disorder, or special health care needs is generally the same as the search for other children.  Still, there may be some added things know.  You can ask about these things, or find out from your own observations at the setting.   Here are a few examples:

  • Each child is unique – Do direct care providers seem open to learning about your child’s unique abilities, needs and interests?   If it’s a larger setting, do administrators have expectations for this?
  • Training and experience – Does someone in the setting have a particular type of training or experience relevant to your child’s care needs?   If not, is there openness to training or learning new information and skills from you or someone who works with your child?
  • Participation – Will your child participate as fully as possible in all the setting’s routines and activities, including field trips?   If adaptations or accommodations are needed, will they be meaningful and respectful?
  • Adult interactions with children – Do adults interact with all the children in a way that will work for your child?   If they use approaches that might not work with your child, would they be open to trying something new?
  • Supports – Does the setting have resources in place that support your child’s needs?  For example, if an older child needs assistance with toileting is there a private changing area?
  • Policies and handbooks – Do the setting’s written policies, parent handbooks, and other materials encourage inclusion and diversity? 

What information do I share with my child’s provider?

It’s always helpful to share these types of information:

  • Your child’s interests, special likes and dislikes, and favorite activities.
  • Your child’s strengths and abilities.
  • Specific needs that your child has, and best ways to meet them.
  • Any fears or concerns that you have.
  • Best ways to communicate with you.

There may also be additional things to share, like these topics:

  • How to be consistent with what you do at home.  This might especially apply to behaviors.
  • People that may be helpful to the provider, such a specialist who works with your child.

What if a program refuses to serve my child?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that a child or youth cannot be denied services simply because he or she has a disability or other special needs.  Rather, a decision to enroll any child must be made on an individual basis.  This means the provider must have the following information:

  • Your child’s specific care needs;
  • Reasonable accommodations that are necessary to safe and appropriate care for your child;  And,
  • Supports available to help the provider make necessary accommodations.  These may be things that parents can offer, or they may come from an outside source.

According to the ADA, a provider may make an informed decision not to enroll your child if:

  • The provider cannot reasonably make the requested accommodations;
  • The accommodations would place an undue burden on the program; Or,
  • Your child poses a direct threat to himself/herself or the other children in the program.   Such a risk of harm must be documented by an objective professional.

If you think that your child’s rights or your rights have been violated, you can contact Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) at 503-243-2081 or 1-800-452-1694.   DRO is Oregon’s designated Protection and Advocacy agency.  The agency works to uphold the legal rights of people with disabilities.

Parents and providers are often able to work out reasonable arrangements for successful child care placements.   Knowing everyone’s rights and responsibilities is a good place to start.   This website’s Laws, Rights and Regulations provides more detail on the Americans with Disabilities Act.   You can also contact the Inclusive Child Care Program for additional information.   We can share information on Oregon’s child care rules and regulations that apply to enrollment decisions.

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