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8.5 Special Needs & Social Referral


Children's Services  Effective Date: April 1, 2021   
Topic: Application for Child Care Subsidy    Replaces: January 1, 2010
Subject: Special Needs & Social Referral Policy No. F.8.5.  



A special needs referral from an approved referral agent can be made for a child who is waiting for, or receiving specialized intervention, for suspected or diagnosed special needs. Parents / guardians will be eligible to apply for a child care fee subsidy with a referral. The referring agent must commit to a continuum of care plan. 

A social referral, from an approved referral agent, can be made for a child whose needs are such that without child care services he/she will be physically, socially, emotionally disadvantaged or in an emergency situation i.e. family crisis, short- term medical inability of parent to care for child. The referring agent must commit to a continuum of care plan. 

The parent must be eligible for Fee Subsidy as per the determination from the Income Test. However, the parent is not required to be engaged in a training program or employment activity.


A referral must be completed by an approved referral agency who will commit to the ongoing care of the client during the period of the referral.

A social referral can be made for a six (6) month period with the provision that the referral, or referring agent, will complete a written individual plan of care. Social referrals for periods longer than six (6) months require an ongoing commitment from the referring agent for an individual plan of care. The plan should confirm that a program is in place for the child/family. Accountability rests with the social agent regarding the ongoing need for child care, and confirmation by the client/agent that other forms of support have been exhausted.

Under specific circumstances, as identified through a detailed referral from community agencies, individual children with medical or behaviour problems may be best be cared for on a one-to-one basis. This child care arrangement will be the last resort and only utilized when all other options have been unsuccessful.

A child six (6) years of age or over, who is of mandatory school age, will not be covered except in program times already designed and in place for school aged children.