N.C. DIVISION OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT: This state agency licenses all child care centers, from full-time daycares to home-based centers. It rates facilities by stars, with 5 stars being the best. To see these ratings go to ncchildcare.dhhs.state.nc.us/general/home.asp and click on “Parents.” Select “Choosing Quality Child Care.” Within the text that comes up, click on the underlined link “information on regulated facilities.” A form will pop up. Type in the county you want to review and select a permit type.
CHILD CARE RESOURCES: Charlotte-based non-profit agency that offers families resources and referrals on child care in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union counties. www.childcareresourcesinc.org
ABSOLUTE BEST CARE: Find a nanny, babysitter, baby nurse and housekeeper professionals through this screening agency. www.absolutebestcare.com
SPECIAL NEEDS RESOURCES
ALLEGRO FOUNDATION: FREE weekly programs for children between the ages of 4 and 23 with intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, orthopedic challenges (wheelchairs and walkers), Spina bifida, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, muscular dystrophy, visual and hearing impairments, children “at-risk”, and children with cancer. Programs work to reinforce the academic lessons that children with disabilities learn in their regular classroom by combining cognitive and muscle memory to stimulate sequential and conceptual learning, problem-solving skills and communication.
N.C. INFANT-TODDLER PROGRAM: Early intervention services for children ages birth to three. Free services include evaluation, assessment and service coordination. Other services are available on sliding scale or can be covered by insurance.
N.C. DIVISION OF SERVICES FOR THE BLIND: Provides services and information about training, employment, medical information, technology and daily living skills. www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dsb/
CAROLINAS REHABILITATION (Driving School for the Disabled): Provides training services for a variety of physical, cognitive and emotional limitations. Offers classroom training, on-the-road evaluations and access to adaptive driving systems. www.carolinashealthcare.org/services/rehab/cir/Driving.cfm
LIFESPAN INC.: Provides education, employment and enrichment opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Lifespan recently acquired Joshua’s Farm, a therapeutic horseback riding facility. www.lifespanservices.org/
MECKLENBURG COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES: Provides in-home aid services and adult social work services. Offers the services of a team of social workers that puts people in touch with a variety of service providers and organizations, available directly by calling Just1Call at 704-432-1111. www.charmeck.org/Departments/Just1Call/ Home.htm or www.charmeck.org/Departments/DSS/Home.htm
CAROLINA COMPUTER ACCESS CENTER (CCAC): Provides assistive technology (AT) demonstrations, software and hardware training, a lending library with software and books, as well as computer refurbishing and redistribution to people with disabilities. Serves all ages and disabilities. http://ccac.ataccess.org
METROLINA ASSOCIATION FOR THE BLIND (MAB): Provides support, training, adaptive devices/equipment, transportation, orientation and mobility instruction for individuals with vision impairments. www.mabnc.org
EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN’S ASSISTANCE CENTER (ECAC): Provides training and information for parents of children with special needs. Offers educational workshops, a quarterly newsletter, lending library and parent-to-parent support. www.ecac-parentcenter.org
LEARNING DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION OF CHARLOTTE (LDAC): Offers academic summer programs for students with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as workshops and a quarterly newsletter. www.ldac.org
DISABILITY RIGHTS & RESOURCES: Provides information and referrals, peer mentoring and training of independent living skills for people with disabilities. www.disability-rights.org/
RESIDENTIAL AND SUPPORT SERVICES INC.: Provides residential services and community support to individuals with developmental disabilities. www.rssweb.org/
THERAPEUTIC RECREATION DIVISION OF MECKLENBURG COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION: Offers more than 250 recreational and leisure programs for people with disabilities. www.parkandrec.com and click on "Inside the department," then "Therapeutics division."
ALLEGRO FOUNDATION: Provides free movement education classes for children with disabilities. www.allegrofoundation.net
THE ARC OF MECKLENBURG COUNTY INC.: Provides information, referrals and advocacy for people with mental retardation. www.arcmeck.org
BLUMENTHAL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – BROADWAY LIGHTS SERIES: Provides sign language and audio description at Sunday matinees. www.performingartsctr.org/preview/index.asp or www.blumenthalcenter.org
DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES RESOURCES: Provides residential and non-residential care for children and adults with developmental disabilities. www.ddrinc.org
COUNCIL FOR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS: Represents children with special education, health-care and mental health needs in meetings with school, social services and court officials. www.cfcrights.org/
N.C. DIVISION OF SERVICES FOR THE DEAF AND THE HARD OF HEARING, CHARLOTTE REGIONAL CENTER: Advocates for equal access to housing, medical care, education, technology, legal and financial assistance, communication equipment and interpreting. 704-568-8558 (Voice); 704-568-8505 (TTY)
BEGINNINGS FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING: Provides emotional, technical and educational support to parents of children, birth through age 21, who are deaf and hard of hearing and to professionals serving those families. www.ncbegin.org
THE SPEECH GARDEN INSTITUTE:Non-profit based in Charlotte dedicated to helping children and their families overcome speech and language delays through natural, fun, interactive camps and classes. Group therapy focuses on use of academics and social skills to improve overall communication skills. In addition, training is offered to parents, teachers, therapists and other caregivers to help them provide ideal language stimulation activities at home. www.speechgarden.org
VICTORY JUNCTION:A year-round camping environment for children, ages 6 to 16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Located in Randleman, N.C., Victory Junction offers programs for 24 disease groups and maintains strong relationships with 22 partner hospitals. www.victoryjunction.org.
A-1 WHEELCHAIR PATIENT TRANSPORT: 704-333-9741
CHARLOTTE AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM, SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICE: www.charmeck.org/Departments/CATS/Riding+CATS/STS.htm
DUNSON TRANSPORTATION: 704-605-5719
PFEIFFER INSTITUTE FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY: Counseling services for depression/anxiety, couples, family, parenting, grief/loss, stress management and other concerns facing Moms in the area. The clinic provides services on a sliding scale with a maximum cost of $30/session. www.pimft.com
RETROUVAILLE: Christian peer ministry program for couples with troubled marriages. Based in Raleigh but has programs throughout U.S. www.retrouvaille.org
N.C. FAMILY HEALTH AND CHILD-CARE RESOURCE LINE: Advice about children’s health and development. www.nchealthystart.org
UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL CAROLINAS: Information and referrals to agencies serving families in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Anson and Union counties and the Mooresville-Lake Norman area. www.uwcentralcarolinas.org
SUPPORTWORKS: Clearinghouse for support groups and agencies dealing with family issues primarily in Charlotte. www.supportworks.org
EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN’S ASSISTANCE CENTER: Davidson-based nonprofit group offering advocacy, assistance for children with disabilities. www.ecac-parentcenter.org
ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF CHARLOTTE: Helps find and fund philanthropic projects that assist families and at-risk children. www.charlotte.assistanceleague.org
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF SINGLE MOTHERS: Nonprofit support network based in Midland. www.singlemothers.org
NEW FRIENDS OF CAROLINA: A social group for Charlotte newcomers to meet other people. 704-331-8940.
PROVERBS 31 MINISTRIES: Christian support network for women, based in Matthews. www.proverbs31.org
FAMILY OUTREACH AND COUNSELING CENTER: Nonprofit center offers family counseling, among other services. 704-333-2033.
KINDERMOURN is a local, non-profit organization that provides counseling and support groups to parents who have lost a child and children/teens who are grieving the death of a family member or friend. For more information, please visit www.kindermourn.org