A new program soon to be up and running in Springfield will offer resources for families with young children who have disabilities or developmental delays.
The Community Partnership of the Ozarks is working to bring the Capable Kids & Families program to Springfield.
"It is a combination of home visiting, family support and play group," said Dana Carroll, Springfield’s child advocate.
Families involved in the program will have access to resource materials, a playroom with adaptive equipment and networking meetings. Most importantly , the Community Partnership said, they’ll be able to borrow developmental therapy equipment that will be delivered to their homes.
"For families that don't want to purchase a large piece of equipment but think that there's a piece of equipment that might help their children develop quicker, and so they can borrow that for a limited amount of time and then when they're finished, they can return it and borrow something different," Carroll said.
The playroom, according to Carroll, will be at the Community Partnership’s offices, 330 N. Jefferson. It will contain equipment that can be used by kids with disabilities.
"The idea is there would be a playroom that we would have a play group that would meet monthly or, you know, twice a month, but then if a family wants to bring their children and maybe some friends to this space, if we have the availability, they could reserve the space," she said.
Community Partnership will use funding from the Missouri Department of Social Services to get the program underway, including hiring two people to staff it, and Carroll expects to seek local funding to keep it going.
She views the new program as a way to fill the gap between services for children with special needs and their families.
"To ensure that families are supported, to reduce isolation, to help with any financial hardships through the rental program, helping them access resources in the community that they may not be aware of and then just to, you know, make sure that kids are developmentally progressing," she said.
Springfield joins Rolla, Jefferson City and St. Louis in offering the program, which Carroll expects will be in place next month.