The Institute’s Special Needs Unit of the Informal Family Child Care Project has been supporting home-based family child care providers caring for children with special needs since 2011, providing technical assistance to the City and caregivers. The Unit also designs and facilitates professional development to help providers meet the needs of the children they serve, including those with special needs.

With extensive knowledge of best practices and current research, our experienced, highly qualified staff serve as a valuable resource for caregivers. We recently launched a new initiative to provide individualized consultation services with individualized strategies and tools, best practices, and technical assistance to support children with diverse learning needs. Consistent with the Institute’s work, the consultations will use a collaborative, strengths-based approach.

Consultations are available at no cost to informal (legally-exempt) and licensed family or group family child care providers and programs who:

  • are currently caring for subsidized children
  • are currently receiving or applying for the City’s Special Needs Rate
  • do not belong to a city-funded EarlyLearn Family Child Care Network

Consultations can include:

  • guided support for interacting with and nurturing the development of individual children with special needs
  • designing inclusive environments 
  • communicating and collaborating with families
  • reviewing and interpreting special needs and special education systems and documents
  • work/life balance and self-care

For more information about this initiative, contact the Special Needs Unit at