Finding the Right Childcare

Finding quality childcare is not an easy task for any parent. For a parent of a child with disabilities, it can seem out of reach. Trusting someone else to care for your child, whether it is for all-day care or short amounts of time seems hard enough. When your child has special needs, it can get even more tricky. This page aims to help parents of children with special needs find accessible child care.

drawing of a sun with with a smily face and blue sky and green grass with various colors of crayons next to it

Finding a Child Care Provider

If you want to make sure your child with special needs is in a childcare setting that has the experience and training for children with disabilities, there may be help in your search for the right childcare provider. The Medical Home Portal lists childcare providers for children with special needs (see Child Care, Special Needs (see UT providers [4])). also has a search option to find childcare providers with experience caring for children with special needs. You may be able to find help locating childcare in your area from your region's Early Intervention programs, your local school districts, and from disability-specific organizations. Relatives and friends may also be able to offer suggestions. Be creative and spread a wide net.

Talking With Child Care Providers

As parents, we want our children’s caregivers to be comfortable and confident in caring for them. It doesn’t help if the caregivers are uneasy about caring for our children. Talk with the caregiver/daycare center about your child’s needs. Sometimes it is just a matter of educating the caregivers about your child's disability. Offer to help/train them to know the needs of your child, let them know they can call you any time with questions.

Legal Considerations

Childcare providers are sometimes unsure about taking children with special needs because they lack experience in working with them. They may have concerns over legal liability and/or the amount of staff time it might call for to meet the needs of a child with a disability. It’s helpful to know that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that privately-run childcare programs must take children with disabilities and make reasonable accommodations for them unless a child’s needs meet certain criteria (see section III-3.0000).
The childcare program must make an individualized assessment to see whether it can meet the needs of the child without changing the childcare program itself without preconceptions or stereotypes about what children with disabilities can or cannot do, or how much support they may need. Instead, the caregiver should talk to the parents or guardians and any other professionals who work with the child. Providers are often surprised at how easy it is to include children with disabilities in their mainstream programs.

Financial Assistance

Child can be expensive. Some families may qualify for financial assistance, based on their income, type of child care needed, and state rules. The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) is a federal program that subsidizes child care so parents can work, go to school or training programs.


Information & Support

For Parents and Patients

Child Care Aware
Child Care Aware helps families learn more about the standards for quality child care and a state -by-state locator for programs. This is also where you will find your local Childcare Reference and Referral (CCR&R) and your state's inspection reports, their quality rating (QRIS), and the information on required background checks.

Care About Childcare
This Utah government website provides families with profiles of childcare providers in Utah, including programs that have training or experience with children with special needs.
This website helps match you up with babysitters, nannies, daycare, special needs care, tutors and camps.

Family Caregiver Alliance
Here, you'll find information about support groups, education, and advocacy news for family caregivers. A navigator helps locate state-specific services.

Services for Patients & Families in Utah (UT)

For services not listed above, browse our Services categories or search our database.

* number of provider listings may vary by how states categorize services, whether providers are listed by organization or individual, how services are organized in the state, and other factors; Nationwide (NW) providers are generally limited to web-based services, provider locator services, and organizations that serve children from across the nation.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: February 2013; last update/revision: August 2019
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Tina Persels
Reviewer: Mindy Tueller, MS, MCHES
Authoring history
2019: update: Tina PerselsR
2013: first version: Gina Pola-MoneyR
AAuthor; CAContributing Author; SASenior Author; RReviewer