Finding reliable, quality child care can be a difficult and stressful task for any parent -- especially those who have children with special healthcare needs.

Finding quality child care is a difficult process for anyone. Finding quality and inclusive child care for children with disabilities can be extremely difficult.

A child that has special needs is one who, because of physical, emotional or health reasons, requires some special attention and care. Regardless of individual needs, all children have the right to belong, be active and play.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. This law established protections for people with both physical and mental disabilities against discrimination in employment; public accommodations (including child care programs); state and local public services; telecommunications; and public transportation.

The ADA clearly requires child care programs of all sizes to care for and accommodate the needs of children with disabilities, whenever they are reasonably able to do so. Reasonable modifications must be made in child care programs' policies, procedures and practices in order to accommodate individuals with disabilities, unless those modifications would fundamentally alter the service or operation of the child care program.

Child care centers and family day care homes are specifically included as public accommodations. However, child care programs operated by religious organizations might be exempt from ADA public accommodation requirements (although not exempt from employment requirements).

Cincinnati Children's provides information on some local day care and respite resources.