Children with Special Needs and Child Care

Children come with many types of health and developmental needs. All early care and education centers are expected to make every effort to accommodate children with special needs. There are many resources available to support families in finding quality care and education programs, to support teachers and caregivers including a child with special needs, and to link children who have or may have a disability with intervention services.

Finding Child Care

Children’s Home Society –  As a parent or guardian, you want to provide the best care and support for your child. Children’s Home Society of California’s (CHS) Resource and Referral (R&R) Program is here to support you! The Resource and Referral (R&R) Program, available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., provides parents and guardians with information about child care options, and provides referrals to resources available in your community. To obtain referrals contact the Orange County R&R hotline at 714-543-2273 or 949-364-6605 or, for your convenience, complete a referral request form and a Program Specialist will contact you directly.

Child Care in the City of Irvine - This webpage includes the steps to finding quality child care, the types of child care available, child care listings and an interactive map of center based and home based licensed child care in the City of Irvine.

Additional Information and Resources

California Department of Social Services - Early Start Program: Provides early intervention in a coordinated, family-centered system. Early intervention is critical for children to achieve the best possible developmental outcomes.

Handle With Care: Choosing Child Care When Your Child Has Challenging Behavior – developed by Linda and Tom Brault.

Comfort Connection Family Resource Center - The Comfort Connection Family Resource Center at Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC) connects families who have children with special needs and disabilities to resources and support. Most of Comfort Connection’s staff are parents of children with developmental disabilities, and many are bilingual.

Regional Center of Orange County - For families of children birth to 36 months, RCOC provides free evaluations when parents have a concern about their child’s development. Anyone can call and make a referral. RCOC provides an array of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with qualifying developmental delays or established risk conditions, working in coordination with other programs and services, including your local school district. Some children may continue to receive RCOC services beyond 36 months of age and into adulthood when the disabling condition seriously impacts activities of daily living.

Irvine Unified School District Early Childhood Learning Center - Your school district can provide free developmental assessment in suspected areas of delay upon parent request for children ages 3 years and older. Children who qualify for special education may receive specialized services based upon their educational needs.  For children younger than 3 years, school districts coordinate early intervention services with the Regional Center Early Start Program.

Help Me Grow Orange County - All Orange County families with young children can access this free program that provides care coordination and connection to programs and services. The Help Me Grow team will listen to your questions and concerns and connect you to services that fit your child’s needs.

Quality Start OC - A community partnership, led by the Orange County Department of Education, focused on raising the quality of early learning programs across the county.  Quality Start OC provides a variety of resources online for parents and early childhood educators.

California MAP to Inclusion & Belonging: Making Access Possible - The mission of the MAP to Inclusion & Belonging… Making Access Possible, is to create a statewide system of support, training and resources that gives all families and providers barrier-free access to inclusive child care.

City of Irvine Disability Services -  City of Irvine Disability Services provides support services and social programs to persons with disabilities, their families, caregivers and providers who live or work in Irvine.