Working parents often need day care.
But for parents whose children have special medical needs, day-care options are limited.
Your Child’s Place, a pediatric extended care center in Washington for infants and children with complex medical conditions who need skilled nursing care, has been a gift for parents with additional worries about finding qualified and loving caregivers prepared to handle their child’s ongoing illnesses or chronic conditions.
The staff of Your Child’s Care consists of registered nurses and child-care professionals who are trained in pediatrics and who work to address children’s medical needs and to provide educational, social, and recreational opportunities.
“It’s been a huge blessing for us,” said Amanda Shirey, whose 5 1/2-year-old daughters, Penelope and Kinsley, were born 16 weeks early. Their triplet sister, Madelyn, died six days after the girls were born.”When the girls came home from NICU, I stayed home for a while, but with medical bills and other expenses, we couldn’t afford for me not to work. Sending kids to day care is scary enough, let alone those kids with disabilities. We fell in love with Your Kids Place and the staff, and the girls love them. To know our kids were going to be taken care of by nurses, we were confident they’d be taken care of properly if something happened.”
Your Child’s Place is one of only two of its kind in Western Pennsylvania that provides special care for children with complex medical needs, according to Sam Kulp, communications associate with Pathways/Your Child’s Place.
“Your Child’s Place is dedicated to serving families and their children regardless of medical or developmental needs,” he said.
A sensory room, funded in part by a grant from United Way, is equipped with lights, shapes and sounds designed to provide a calming space.
The sensory room also helps kids improve their visual, auditory, and tactile processing, along with fine and gross motor skills.
Because Your child’s Place provides care for children of all conditions, there is a need for specialized medical technology and equipment, which is expensive.
Both of Shirey’s daughters have cerebral palsy and vision problems caused by retinopathy of prematurity, and Penelope uses a wheelchair and a walker.
“(Your Child’s Place) is a hidden little gem, and I tell as many people as I can about it. It’s become our own little second family,” said Shirey. “You have to have a lot of trust in someone who’s taking care of your kids, and we have so much love and respect for everyone there. (Your Child’s Place) took what was a very scary situation to us and made it an easy transition.”