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Crystal Stairs is awarded federal funding to re-open Special Needs Program

On June 30, 2008 Crystal Stairs was forced to close its Special Needs Assistance Project (SNAP) due to lack of funding. The good news is that Crystal Stairs was recently awarded federal funding to re-open the program. SNAP was designed to connect families with specialized programs and services available for their children; build capacity of child care providers and center-based programs to care for children with special needs; and provide technical support, quality training and resources for early care and education providers to help them be more comfortable including children with special needs in their settings.

During its initial four-year project run, SNAP trained 20,260 child care providers and offered 2,331 referrals to families with special needs children. It was part of a county-wide initiative of the 10 Child Care Resource & Referral (R&R) agencies that provided education and resources for families and child care providers to increase opportunities for children with special needs to have a place in quality early care and education programs. 

To re-open this program is an amazing opportunity for the agency, and confirms the value of the project and the commitment that the new administration and Congress have to early care and education. The honorable Diane E. Watson, representative of the 33rd congressional district was supportive in these efforts.  "We are excited to have received this award in funding," says Holly J. Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of Crystal Stairs. "Many of the providers in our service area are providing care for a growing number of children with special needs. This funding is timely and critical and may represent the only opportunity our providers have to get the training and resources they need to expand their skill set when it comes to providing care for children with special needs."

This new funding will allow Crystal Stairs to have a designated Inclusion Specialist on staff to assist those in the field of early care and education and other professionals as well as families with children with special needs and disabilities.  The Inclusion Specialist will be responsible for the following special needs services – providing enhanced child care referrals for families; coordination of trainings for  parents and providers of child care services; offering technical assistance, resources and support; and serving as an advocate and community liaison on matters related to the special needs of the families we serve.