Early Childhood Intervention: Module One – Typical and Atypical Development

Frames of Reference in Special Education and Early Childhood Education

Father and sonThe “Special Education Policy Framework” also served as the foundation for the resource Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines. This manual describes the policy’s foundation , outlines the roles and responsibilities of the ministry, the school boards, district and school-based staff, parents and students in the development and delivery of special education services. It also describes the process of identifying and planning for children with special needs and outlines the services that will be made available to the student as well as school and school districts.

In 2008, a plan coordinated across the three Ministries, Children and Family Development, Health and Education was developed. This is referred to as the Children and Youth with Special Needs and their Families Framework for Action.

This is a strategy to foster collaborative action among the health, education and social services sectors to help better support families.

Prior to 2008, early childhood education programs for children, typically pre-kindergarten programs, were not legally mandated by any ministry. In 2007, Bill 20, The School Amendment Act, gave authority to Boards of Education. (see full Glossary) to provide services to children under school age. The Bill defines these “Early Learning Programs” (see full Glossary) as programs for children who are under school age entry (e.g., 3-5 years old). An example of this type of program is the Strong Start Early Learning Centers that operate in local schools.

Legislation is regulated by the Child Care BC Act. Additional funding and support for children attending child care settings is available and is regulated by this act.

Child care center buildings and spaces are regulated by the Community Care and Assisted Living Act which provides guidelines to such things as the number of children per staff member, the number of hours a child can be in care, etc. All these programs and acts are monitored and maintained under the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

This complex system1 of child care and special needs programs under three Ministries and sets of laws can be a maze for parents and professionals.

It’s important to have accurate information, and to ask for assistance in order to get the appropriate services for your child and family.

1. More information on this system in this report.

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