Daycare Centers for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Survey of Parents

The Division for Rehabilitation Services at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Services together with the Ministry of Health’s Child Development Service offer 64 daycare centers for some 1,900 infants and toddlers with disabilities throughout Israel. In addition to basic care and educational activities, the centers provide rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational and speech therapy for the children as well as counseling for the parents. The current survey addressed the parents’ satisfaction with various aspects of the care provided by the centers. It also examined their experience of the support they receive from the centers in caring for their children and in managing their family life.  The survey included interviews with the parents of 253 children at 49 centers, with a wide range of disabilities and from all sectors of the population. In most of the families (75%), both parents were interviewed.

Main findings:

  • The parents reported high satisfaction with the physical conditions at the centers and the quality of care provided to their children: 95% of the parents described the physical conditions as good; 93% of the mothers and 89% of the fathers were satisfied with the quality of the rehabilitation services, 98% with the physical care, and 94% with the educational and enrichment activities.
  • Communication between the families and staff was found to be generally good: 89% of the parents reported that they received ongoing reports from the center and over 90% were satisfied with the quality of information provided. Ninety-seven percent of the mothers and 84% of the fathers had participated in at least one individual meeting with the staff, and a large majority gave favorable accounts of the meetings.
  • All the mothers and 71% of the fathers had received counseling from the staff about caring for their children at home and most reported that it was useful. However, only 56% of the families had received a home visit from a representative of the staff. Such visits were considered helpful by those who had received them.
  • 89% of the mothers reported that there were group meetings with parents at the center and 81% of them had participated in at least one. Many fewer fathers (43%) had participated in such meetings.
  • The parents indicated that the centers had helped them in a number of ways in addition to the counseling and guidance they had received. Notably, the center freed up their time for work and family (90% of the parents). Eighty-nine percent of the mothers and 82% of the fathers said the center had reduced the burden of taking the children for treatment and checkups.
  • The parents indicated several directions for improving the facilities and the care provided, including expanding the physical space, increasing the time allocated for treatments, and increasing the involvement of the fathers. They also expressed a lack of satisfaction with the transportation service to and from the centers, a service provided by the local authorities.

The findings have been presented to the professionals in charge of daycare centers in the two ministries.

The study was commissioned by the Division for Research, Planning and Training in association with the Division for Rehabilitation Services at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Services and funded with their assistance. It was conducted with the assistance of the Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman Foundation.

Citing suggestion: Loeff, Y. (2016). Daycare Centers for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Survey of Parents. RR-708-16. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)