Helping Kids be Kids, No Matter the Barriers
Learning. Playtime. Making friends. It’s what being a kid is all about. But for some, just being a kid has its barriers, and The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center is working to lift them.
It’s ten o’clock in the morning at Child’s Way®, a day care for medically fragile kids at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center. The day begins, as always, in song:
“It’s circle-time. Lailah’s here! It’s circle-time. Maverick’s here! It’s circle-time. Cooper’s here! How are you today?”
Everyone is recognized, even the teachers and nurses. They read a story together, counting rocket ships and stars from one to ten. Children paint flowers and ducks in unique colors. Firefighters, doctors and great chefs appear in impromptu costumes. Jayce, the ever-energetic five-year-old, chooses to be a dinosaur instead. Imagination is everything and anything.
As similar scenes unfold in daycares throughout Pittsburgh, it’s the kids that make Child’s Way remarkable. They are all working to overcome barriers, each one experiencing physical disabilities, health disorders and/or developmental delays; all require ongoing nursing care to be healthy and safe.
Medically fragile children are unable to attend traditional daycare centers. Most are simply not equipped to administer medications or respond to emergent medical situations. For parents and family caregivers that still need child care to maintain employment, many rely on in-home nursing to ensure their child is safe during the day. But staying at home with a nurse means these kids lack the basic socialization with peers and early childhood education that are so important to success early on.
Created in 1998 as the first daycare for medically fragile children in Pennsylvania, Child’s Way uses education and health care to provide an exceptional child care experience for children and their families. Teachers and nurses work side-by-side, providing a Keystone STARS aligned curriculum and the health care kids need to be healthy and safe. The setting means each child can play, make friends and learn — preparing them for inclusive classrooms and other community programs when they’re ready.
Finally, the program means parents and family caregivers can maintain employment with child care they can trust, including additional support services often needed for medically fragile children. As part of their day, children benefit from physical, occupational and speech therapy, wheelchair repairs, adaptive equipment fittings, bloodwork draws needed for processing and more. This coordination of services seeks to create positive health outcomes for medically fragile children but also supports family caretakers.
For every family that uses Child’s Way, The Children’s Home bridges any gaps in insurance coverage. A $32-per-day child care fee is also adjusted to whatever families may comfortably afford, whether it’s $10-a-day or nothing at all.
As a nonprofit, The Children’s Home relies on community support to provide financial assistance to families while ensuring high-quality services to children. Please consider giving a gift today to make a difference in the lives of these children and families by donating here.
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