Childcare is Crisis. Childcare centers struggle to keep their doors open and find it difficult to retain or even hire staff. This isn’t something new, but the Coronavirus Pandemic, which is closing in on it’s 2nd year, hasn’t helped matters. In fact, it has agitated the crisis even more. Families who need childcare struggle to find centers with availability and preschools need the enrollments in order to afford to hire staff and to stay in business. It’s a vicious cycle of push and pull.
There is an addition complexity for families with autistic or developmentally challenged children. If families can even find a center who will take their child who has been labeled “difficult”, they will often find themselves waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting just on the edge of keeping them enrolled. Why? Simply put, children with additional needs require additional resources and supports. That comes at a cost few families and centers can afford.
The Richmond Times put out an article highlighting the Childcare in Crisis for families in the Richmond, VA area. This is, of course, an issue across the Commonwealth of Virginia. CA Human Services is a non-profit organization in Virginia that works to end the gaps in services for Virginians affected by developmental disabilities, such as autism. CA seeks to advocate for, enable and create change for all Virginians across the lifespan. Our answer to the Childcare in Crisis for Virginia is to help Preschools across the state offer an inclusive preschool. Not only does offering an inclusive preschool help families with developmentally disabled children, the preschools are able to offset the added costs of specialty staff and administrative costs through insurance billing.
Through a generous grant from The Community Foundation of Greater Richmond, we are able to help Preschools in the Greater Richmond area with startup costs. CA has already rolled this program out with one area Preschool: Precious Time Village Mill in Midlothian. Since launching the program, they’ve already added 2 special needs children and are able to add more. Upfront costs can be prohibitive, but with the grant, CA is able to help offset much of it or help with computer program subscription fees. This enables more preschools to offer programs and thus more families the opportunity have access to childcare.
Preschool Inclusion Concept
With the goal of closing gaps in services for Virginians with Developmental Disabilities, CA takes on the upfront work while empowering the preschool or childcare center to be successful. Simply put: CA is working to expand preschool service offerings to children with developmental disabilities in a neurotypical preschool setting. We are doing this by creating a program that provides behavioral intervention for up to 8 children at each preschool. CA will act as a consultant to the preschool, so that the preschool can run these services independently and sustainably once CA steps away. CA’s mission is to strengthen services for people with autism across the Commonwealth by supporting service providers to provide intervention in inclusive settings.
CA is hosting two webinars in November to present the program to Richmond area preschools in addition to those across the commonwealth.
There are upfront costs associated with the program, however, the grant from The Community Foundation helps cover some and the insurance billing covers the costs incurred with specialty staff. These costs include:
- CA Human Services Consult
- Part-Time BCBA Salary
- RBT staff
- CMS Software