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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Happy baby; Text - Providing health care services that ensure our children start out healthy Four Medical Professionals; Text - Creating a place where health care professionals connect Four girls smiling; Text - Providing extraordinary care so children can lead ordinary lives
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Module One: Lesson Three

Early Steps Family-Centered Practices

family looking at babyThe term family-centered care has been used in various contexts for nearly 30 years. However, it was the publication of the monograph, "Family-Centered Care for Children" published by the Association for the Care of Children's Health in 1987 that articulated how key elements of family-centered care should be reflected in policy and practice for children and families receiving health, educational, developmental, and social services.

Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was recognized as the first piece of federal legislation to specifically focus attention on the needs of families related to enhancing the development of their children. Rather than focusing specifically on the child, the Part C system concentrates on the family as a unit. Part C legislation challenges states to design and implement a family-centered early intervention system in the context of the family within their community.

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has identified family-centered practices as those in which families are involved in all aspects of decision-making, families' culture and values are respected, and families are provided with accurate and sufficient information to be able to make informed decisions. OSEP also recognizes that family-centered practices include establishing trust and rapport with families, and helping families develop skills to best meet their child's needs. These practices are reflected in the eight key elements of a family- centered service delivery system presented next.


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