Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs: A Policy Statement from ED and HHS

September 15, 2015

On September 14th, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released a policy statement highlighting the importance of ensuring all young children with disabilities have access to inclusive, high-quality early childhood programs where they are provided with individualized and appropriate supports in meeting high expectations. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the new policy statement in Kansas City, Missouri, during the first stop of his back-to-school bus tour.

The joint statement aims to ensure all children with disabilities have access early childhood programming that will strengthen their social-emotional, physical, and cognitive growth, as well as link them and their families to the greater community.  Secretary Duncan called on States, schools, local educational agencies to increase the number of inclusive high-quality early childhood programs nationwide. As the country continues to move forward on the critical task of expanding access to high-quality early childhood programs for all young children, it is imperative that children with disabilities be included in these efforts.

David Lindeman, PhD, Director, Life Span Institute at Parsons and Senior Scientist, Kansas University Center on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD) at the University of Kansas and Jovanna Rohs, PhD, Early Childhood and Youth Research Associate at the Institute for Human Development (UCEDD) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City were among those present at the release. They spoke in support of the policy's goal for all children with disabilities and their families to have the access and supports necessary to participate in high quality inclusive early care and educational programming, and described ways the nationwide network of University Centers on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) can support the states to reach this goal.

Read information on the policy statement in a release from the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) supports the nationwide network of 64 UCEDDs and works in concert with them and others to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families.