Specialized Child Care provides vulnerable children and high-risk families with quality child care and specific supports that help meet their needs, strengthen their families, and promote their children's development. Specialized Child Care (SCC) is part of the continuum of coordinated services offered through Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) in Vermont communities. SCC offers an array of services and supports to families and children with identified specialized child care needs. Specialized Child Care also supports child care providers and CIS specialists working with families to assure that these children experience success in child care settings that meet their needs. Specialized Child Care providers have made a commitment to providing the best quality care to vulnerable children in their care. They agree to continuous professional development that targets the social emotional development of children to enhance and improve their skills in a safe and supportive environment
What is New in Specialized Child Care
Vermont ELCG funding (Project 8: Strengthening SCC Services) provided an opportunity to strengthen and improve SCC, aligning it with standards and resources in Vermont’s broader early childhood system. Since April 2015, CIS staff, Child Care Coordinators, SCC providers and other stakeholders have met regularly to develop and implement a plan to increase quality and consistency in SCC with the goal of improving services and outcomes for children with high needs. This document describes the changes to the program.
About Specialized Child Care
Specialized Child Care serves three populations:
- Children and families with open cases with the Family Services Division of the Department for Children and Families (called Protective Services Child Care);
- Families experiencing significant stress (called Family Support Child Care); and
- Children with special physical, medical, behavioral, or development needs (called Child with Special Heath Needs Child Care).
Specialized Child Care Providers
Child care providers should have approved Specialized Child Care Agreements before enrolling children who need specialized child care. This allows the child care providers to get basic training on child development, families, and Vermont's child protection system and may reduce potential delays in getting financial assistance payments.
Apply for Specialized Child Care Status
To become a specialized child care provider, you must:
Benefits of Specialized Child Care Status
Being a specialized child care provider comes with specific benefits, including:
- You receive an additional 7% of the child care financial assistance payment for any eligible child with a specialized Child Care Financial Assistance need. This is on top of any bonus you get for participating in STARS.
- You get priority access to some trainings, including those sponsored by FSD.
- It gives you priority for specific grants.
- It allows you to provide care for children and families who have open cases with the Family Services Division (FSD) of the Department for Children and Families, including children who are in foster care.
- You are making a difference for vulnerable children in Vermont.
Requirements to become a Specialized Child Care Program
- Have 3 or more STARS
- Be licensed or registered and in good standing with the Child Development Division
- Have had an on-site visit from the CIS Child Care Coordinator to review the Part 3 Application, offer resources and supports, and learn more about your program.
- Complete the (BSC) Basic Specialized Child Care Training within the last five years
- All staff have completed the Family Services Division online mandated reporters training
- Commit to attending 6 hours of Advanced Specialized Care (ASC) Training each year.
How to become a Specialized Child Care Program?
Contact your local CIS Child Care Coordinator. Every region has a local CIS Child Care Coordinator responsible for managing SCC services as part of the regional CIS Team. A current contact list may be found here: http://dcf.vermont.gov/partners/scc
The Child Care Coordinator is available to offer supports and additional resources to you as you need them. They can provide answers to questions, make referrals, and find resources for a variety of topics including Specialized Child Care payments, referrals to CIS, and support communications with social workers. They may also provide you with additional resources, materials, and trainings on social emotional development, teaming, strengthening families, trauma and more.
Advanced Specialized Care (ASC) Training
Specialized Child Care Providers (director or registrant) are required to complete 6 hours of Advanced Specialized Care training annually to maintain their status as a Specialized Care Provider. There are many trainings that can be used to meet the ASC requirements. Training may be completed in face to face settings or online, be at least two hours long and meet certain criteria. Trainings are listed on the BFIS Course Calendar, and criteria and guidance for training is available on the Northern Lights website.