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Dallas nonprofit launches program to cover costs of special needs childcare

Dallas nonprofit launches program to cover costs of special needs childcare
Dallas nonprofit launches program to cover costs of special needs childcare 02:23

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Just about everything is costing more these days and for many families, this includes childcare. 

One Dallas-based nonprofit says this is especially true when it comes to care for children with special needs. They've launched a new program to try and help.  

Daniel Ortiz-Rincon, 17, has severe autism and needs around-the-clock care. 

"It's been a long road, it really has," his mother, Andrea, said. "He was diagnosed when he was two." 

Making sure there's a continuum of care adds up, and it's getting increasingly expensive. 

"The cost has risen with demand," she said. "We're always having to go into our savings because the money that's in the checking account for our daily expenses it just runs out, so it's very difficult to try and save." 

Daniel Ortiz with his family. Erin Jones/

Daniel has been on a waiting list for Texas Medicaid waivers which allows the state to use Medicaid funds for long-term home and community-based services for 15 years. 

"There 160,000 people on the waiting list and so we feel like this is a nice way to reach out to some of these families," President and CEO of Ability Connection Jim Hanophy said. 

Ability Connection specializes in care for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After seeing what families are going through, the nonprofit decided to launch a new program that gives parents like Andrea a $100 voucher towards care every three months. They're using $200,000 from a grant they received to fund this. 

"This is for anybody who has a child with a disability in Dallas County," Hanophy said.

"It's just an exceptional opportunity for families with special needs," Andrea said. 

It will help her in more ways than one. 

"That's because it's very difficult for us to meet the financial piece of the childcare, but it's also difficult to find people to watch Daniel and any special needs child," Andrea said.  

"They get to pick their provider, they get to train them, they get to determine how much they want to pay them," Hanophy said. 

If this is something you'd be interested in registering for, you can do on Ability Connection's website.

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