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This page provides some basic information and resources for child care and early learning providers who take care of one or more infants or children with special health care needs. These are children who have disabilities, special health care needs, and/or challenging behaviors who also need extra support in order to be included in a child care or out-of-school time program.

What is a Medical Home?

Understanding the role of the medical home in the coordination of care for children with special health needs and their families is critical for all medical and non-medical service providers who work with the child and family.

A medical home is not a building, but rather a team approach to providing comprehensive primary health care services in a high-quality and cost-effective manner.

In a medical home the child or youth, his or her family, primary care physician, and other health professionals develop a trusting partnership based on mutual responsibility and respect for each other’s expertise. Partners share complete information with each other.

Together, families, health care professionals and community service providers (including child care providers) identify and access all medical and non-medical services needed to help the child and family.

Children with Special Health Care Needs in Child Care

Federal Policy

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released a policy statement in 2015 highlighting the importance of making sure that all young children with disabilities have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs.

The policy statement sets a vision for States, local educational agencies, schools, and public and private early childhood programs to strengthen and increase the number of inclusive high-quality early childhood programs nationwide. As the country continues to move forward on the critical task of expanding access to high-quality early childhood programs for all young children, it is imperative that children with disabilities be included in these efforts.

More information:

Caring for Children Within a Medical Home Handout Healthy Child Care America presentation explaining what a medical home is and supportive roles child care providers can take in a medical home.

The Center for Children with Special Needs, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle
The Center has many resources on the website’s including a Childcare, Schools and Community page that are helpful for child care and early learning providers. Resources include:

  • Child Care and the ADA: find information and resources about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and child care for professionals and families.
  • Playground Safety for Your Child with Special Needs: general safety tips, resources, and information about ADA accessibility for playgrounds for parents, caregivers, and professionals (information also in Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese).
  • Talking With Parents: find resources, information and tips for childcare professionals who communicate with parents and caregivers of children with special needs.

Medical Home: Families and Providers Working Together Brochure
Provides definitions, benefits and tips for families about having a Medical Home for their child in Washington State. Available in PDF format in: English and Spanish. To order: or (206) 685-1279

Sharing Concerns with Families
For most parents, family members, childcare providers, friends, and physicians, sharing concerns about a child’s development can be a challenging and daunting task.

Helping Families Find Services For Their Children

Family Health Hotline
Statewide, toll-free Information and Referral Line from WithinReach to connect families to free or low-cost health insurance, food resources, immunizations, breastfeeding support, family planning services, parenting support, child development screening services, and many other social and health programs, including information for children with special health care needs. Access to interpretive service for 50 languages. Funding from the Department of Health.

1-800-322-2588 or 1-800-833-6388 (tty relay)

Washington State Medical Home Quick Key Contacts List
1-800 Family Health Hotline, Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program Family Resources Coordinators, Children with Special Health Care Coordinators, and Parent Support Groups
Washington State Medical Home Local Resources by County

Child Growth and Development Materials

CHILD Profile Health Promotion Materials
Letters and brochures with age-specific child health, growth, safety and development information for parents of children birth to 6 years. CHILD Profile is Washington State’s award winning health promotion and immunization registry system to help ensure our children receive the preventive care they needs. All materials in English and Spanish.

Child Care and the Americans with Disabilities Act Booklet.
This booklet gives child care and after-school providers and families useful information and resources about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and child care. Prepared for the Washington State Department of Health CSHCN Program by the Center for Children with Special Needs at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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Helpful Organizations

Washington State Child Care Resource and Referral Network
Working through 18 local child care resource and referral programs serving every county in the state, the Network helps child care providers by offering professional training, educational scholarships, and resources. The Network is a private, not-for-profit agency.

Phone 1-800-446-1114 or (253) 383-1735.

Healthy Child Care America (HCCA)
HCCA, housed at the American Academy of Pediatrics, has helpful information for how child care providers can support children with special health care needs and their families.

Washington State Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT)
Provides early intervention services, including family resources coordination, for eligible children from birth to age 3 and their families