California MAP
California MAP
Working Together

Inclusion Works!

Inclusion Works!, a California Department of Education publication designed to provide guidance on proven strategies that promote belonging and inclusion for all children, has an updated second edition. This publication was funded by the California Department of Education, Early Learning & Care Division and developed collaboratively by California MAP to Inclusion & Belonging… Making Access Possible director, Linda Brault. Building on research and the experience of years of effective implementation, this handbook contains stories and examples, as well as background information and resources that support strategies for successful inclusion. Suggestions for ways to adapt the environment are provided, along with examples of inclusive strategies. The new edition contains information on Universal Design for Learning and has accompanying videos. A glossary and appendices make this handbook a practical tool for care providers.

Additional Tools

Training PowerPoints

California State Agencies

California Department of Developmental Services (DDS)
The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is the agency through which the state of California provides services and supports to children and adults with developmental disabilities. These disabilities include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism and its related conditions. DDS is California’s lead agency for services for children birth to three years of age, as defined under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’04). For information on programs and resources for children ages birth to 3 visit the Birth to 36 Months Home Page. There are several Web links for agencies and services related to Early Start:
California Department of Education, Before & After School Division
The home page for the California Department of Education, Before & After School Division includes links to programmatic and fiscal resources to build, implement, and sustain quality before and after school programs, including school-age care and other out-of-school opportunities for children and youth.
California Department of Education, Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD)

On September 18, 2018 the California Department of Education, Early Learning and Care Division (CDE/ELCD), formerly the Early Education and Support Division, announced its new name and the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan (PDF). The new name captures their role in supporting a mixed-delivery system that incorporates multiple funding streams and supports children birth through age 12. The ELCD’s vision is that, “All California’s children have a strong early learning and care foundation, supporting the whole child and school and lifelong success.” Its mission is to “Lead an innovative, inclusive, and high-performing early learning and care system by advancing equitable opportunities that optimize thriving children, families, and communities.”

Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) Resources page on the CDE Website

Re-Opening: Updated Guidance for Child Care Programs and Providers

  • Additional Resources from ELCD
    • Access to Inclusive Early Learning and Care Programs for Students with Disabilities May 2019 This letter from the California Department of Education reaffirms expectations for access to inclusive early learning and care programs for students with disabilities in California. As California continues to pursue a system of education that adequately addresses the needs of each and every student in the least restrictive environment (LRE), providing access to inclusive early learning opportunities for students with disabilities is fundamental.
    • California Department of Education Streaming Video Collection May 2019 The Early Learning and Care Division launched the California Department of Education Streaming Video Collection, an online streaming video subscription service. Users may now access the companion videos for California’s educational resources on one simple platform.
    • Resources for Homeless Children and Youths Resources related to homeless students' rights to enroll and participate fully in school.
    • Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant Implementation (RTT-ELC)
    • Child Care Funding Testimony by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
    • California Comprehensive Early Learning Plan Resources (CCELP)
    • California's Early Care and Education Training Portal
      Assists you to locate:
      • Professional development programs funded by California Department of Education, Early Learning and Care Division
      • Some ECE and child development public college online coursework
      • Health and safety trainings.
    • California Early Childhood Online (CECO)
      To support early childhood teachers, the California Early Learning and Development System provides an integrated set of resources based on state-of-the-art information for early learning and development and best practices in early education. The courses provided on the California Early Childhood Online (CECO) Web site enable teachers to increase content knowledge and ability to provide developmentally appropriate experiences for children in their care. Meeting the developmental needs of young children and their families requires a comprehensive approach. CECO provides access to comprehensive resources and courses in one centralized location to meet the ever-changing needs of the early childhood field.
    • All About Young Children
      The ELCD is pleased to announce the online publication All About Young Children: Information for Families on Children's Early Development. This publication provides resources for families based on the California Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Foundations and the California Preschool Learning Foundations. It is now available at This website presents information for families that focuses on key infant/toddler learning and development foundations and preschool learning foundations and includes discussion about those foundations by groups of parents.
    • Early Childhood Educator Competencies Videos
      The California Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Competencies describe the knowledge, skills and dispositions that early childhood educators need in order to provide high quality care and education to young children and their families.
    • Family Engagement Framework
    • Bridges 2014 E-Journal
      This issue of Bridges will focus on the California Collaborative on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CA CSEFEL), which promotes the social–emotional development and school readiness of young children from birth to age five.
    • Seeds of Partnership
      Seeds of Partnership assists special educators, administrators, staff, and families involved in programs for children with disabilities. We aim to create or provide avenues and tools to increase improvement of partnerships, provide professional development resources, and tools that will assist LEAs seeking to improve their family engagement program practices and educational outcomes. This project is funded by the California Department of Education (CDE), Special Education Division (SED) and is under the auspices of the Sacramento County Office of Education.
California Department of Health Care Services, Mental Health Services Division
Assembly Bill 102, which Governor Brown signed into law on June 28, 2011, requires the transfer of Medi-Cal-related mental health functions from the Department of Mental Health to the Department of Health Care Services (MHSD) by July 1, 2012. This is not a change in mental health benefits or eligibility. Medi-Cal-related mental health functions are now handled by the Mental Health Services Division.
California Department of Social Services
The mission of the California Department of Social Services is to serve, aid, and protect needy and vulnerable children and adults in ways that strengthen and preserve families, encourage personal responsibility, and foster independence. Additional Resources
First 5 California (California Children and Families Commission)
Californians believe that our state’s children are a top priority. That’s why in 1998 voters passed Proposition 10, adding a 50-cent tax to each pack of cigarettes sold to create First 5 California, also known as the California Children and Families Commission. First 5 California is dedicated to improving the lives of California’s young children and their families through a comprehensive system of education, health services, childcare, and other crucial programs. Since its creation, First 5 California has brought these critical services to millions of parents, caregivers, and children ages 0 to 5, and we’re striving to reach thousands more every day. For information about local First 5 activities see Family Resources.

California Training & Technical Assistance Organizations

Beginning Together

Beginning Together was created in collaboration with the California Department of Education, Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) and WestEd, Center for Child and Family Studies as an inclusion support to the Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers (PITC).

The purpose of Beginning Together is to ensure that children with special needs are incorporated, and appropriate inclusive practices are promoted, in the training and technical assistance provided by the existing cadre of CDE/WestEd certified trainers in the PITC. This is accomplished through a "training of trainers" institute, regional outreach activities, revision/development of written materials, support to institute graduates, and support of inclusive practices in other PITC activities, such as the demonstration programs.

California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN)

California Preschool Instructional Networks (CPIN) provides professional development and technical assistance to preschool teachers and administrators to ensure that preschool children are ready for school. The CPIN is organized utilizing the 11 regions designated by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA). There is a Regional Lead, a Special Education Lead, and an English Learner Lead stationed in each of the eleven regions throughout the state of California.

  • Calendar of Events Look here for trainings on inclusion topics including Inclusion Works! and English Learners with Disabilities and Other Special Needs
CalSTAT (California Services for Technical Assistance and Training)
CalSTAT (California Services for Technical Assistance and Training) is a special project of the California Department of Education, Special Education Division, located at Napa County Office of Education. It is funded through the Special Education Division and the California State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG). The SPDG, a federal grant, supports and develops partnerships with schools and families by providing training, technical assistance and resources to both special education and general education.
Center for Prevention & Early Intervention (CPEI)

WestEd’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention in Sacramento, provides statewide high quality training, technical assistance and resource development, dissemination, and support to state agencies and community programs that administer or provide prevention and early intervention services. The state agencies have included the California Departments of Education, Developmental Services, Health Services, Social Services, Mental Health, and Alcohol and Drug Programs.

The Center for Prevention and Early Intervention is recognized as California's premier source of training, technical assistance and resource development and provision supporting early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and at-risk conditions and their families.

  • Additional Resources from CPEI
    • California Early Intervention Technical Assistance Network CEITAN-California Early Start CEITAN is the "home base" for the Early Start Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, a collaborative effort sponsored by the California Department of Developmental Services, planned in collaboration with the California Department of Education, and administered by the WestEd Center for Prevention and Early Intervention. Through multi-modal training and technical assistance, the Early Start Comprehensive System of Personnel Development delivers the knowledge and skills that ensure that early intervention professionals are qualified and that services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families are provided statewide in a coordinated and family-centered system.
    • Early Start Institute
      Early Start Online is part of a new, multi-modal delivery model that complements the EARLY START INSTITUTES. At the heart of both delivery models is the comprehensive, evidence-based content that the field has come to expect from Early Start personnel development. It provides the core curriculum and learning outcomes for both online and face-to-face training.
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    • Early Start Neighborhood
      This environment provides a virtual community for Early Start professionals and partners seeking training, technical assistance and resources on early intervention Part C requirements, implementation, and evidence-based practices.
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    • Early Start Online Modules: "Early Start, Early Childhood Special Education and California's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS)"
      Provides a self-paced, interactive learning resource to acquire knowledge about key players and components in California's TQRIS, system intersections across Part C, Part B 619 and TQRIS activities and the relationships between high quality early learning programs and natural/least restrictive environments.
Desired Results Access Project
Desired Results Access Project assists the California Department of Education, Special Education Division (SED), in implementing the DRDP Assessment System to measure the progress of California's preschool-age children with IEPs. The Desired Results access Project web site offers information and resources to assist special educators, administrators, and families in participating in the Desired Results assessment system. You can view and download the two Desired Results assessment tools used with preschool-age children with IEPs: the PS DRDP-R (including instructions for use with children with IEPs) and the DRDP access.
  • Desired Results Access Video Initiative Library (Video)
    Desired Results Access Project Video Library supports early childhood practitioners' use of video in their work. The videos on this page were produced in collaboration with our partners in this initiative, including staff from the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Sacramento County Office of Education, the Santa Clara Office of Education, and the Riverside County Office of Education. Check back from time to time as new clips are added periodically. Here is a recent addition:
Kids Included Together (KIT)

KIT stands for Kids Included Together, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in San Diego, California in 1997. The mission of Kids Included Together is to support recreational, child development, and youth development programs that include children with and without disabilities. KIT's goals are to enrich the lives of all who participate and to increase understanding and acceptance of disabilities as a natural part of life. We invite you to explore our site and learn more about our work in San Diego County and across the nation.

  • Summer Camp Means Fun for All: How to Create a More Inclusive Camp May 20, 2022 Kids Included Together (KIT) says, “Pinpointing exactly what it means and looks like to be inclusive can be tough because creating a sense of belonging for each child will differ from person to person and camp to camp. But, that’s really what it is – creating a sense of belonging for each camper.” “So, where do you start and how do you know if you’ve gotten there? Well, providing a meaningful experience for every camper may look varied, but it will be rooted in a few universal principles.” This article provides helpful considerations to add to KIT’s inclusion checklist.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Resources Project
The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Resources Project, operated by WestEd for the California Department of Education, develops resources for use by districts and sites to improve services for all students. To achieve this goal, the project is establishing a network of leadership sites and consultants that focuses on teacher training, mentoring, facilitating, technical assistance, and specialized materials.

California Parent Organizations

Family Resource Center Network of California (FRCNCA)
The FRCNCA is a coalition of California's 47 Early Start Family Resource Centers. Staffed by families of children with special needs, family resource centers offer parent-to-parent support and help parents, families, and children locate and use needed services. They offer support services and resources in many languages, which may include newsletters, resource libraries, websites, parent-to-parent groups, sibling support groups, warmlines, and information and referral for parents and professionals.

Professional Organizations

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 103,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. ASHA’s mission is to ensure that all people with speech, language, and hearing disorders have access to quality services to help them communicate more effectively.
Division for Early Childhood (DEC)
The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) is an organization designed for individuals who work with—or on behalf of—children with special needs, birth through age eight, and their families. DEC, a subdivision of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), is dedicated to promoting policies and practices that support families and enhance the optimal development of children. Children with special needs include those who have disabilities or developmental delays, are gifted/talented, or are at risk of future developmental problems.
  • Resources within Reason Resources Within Reason is a bi-monthly, one-way listserv. Each issue focuses on a topic of interest to individuals who support young children and their families, with emphasis on children with or at risk for disabilities. All featured resources are free. The content of Resources within Reason is coordinated by Camille Catlett. The listserv is supported by DEC. All or part of Resources within Reason may be freely shared or copied.
  • Recommended Practices: A Comprehensive Guide for Practical Application in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education A DEC initiative that bridges the gap between research and practice, offering guidance to parents and professionals who work with young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities.
Infant Development Association of California (IDA)

The Infant Development Association of California (IDA) is a multidisciplinary organization of parents and professionals committed to optimal developmental and positive social and emotional outcomes for infants, birth to three, with a broad range of special needs and their families. IDA advocates improved, effective prevention and early intervention services while providing information, education, and training to parents, professionals, decision makers, and others.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the nation’s largest organization of early childhood professionals and others dedicated to improving the quality of early childhood education programs for children birth through age eight. NAEYC’s primary goals are to improve professional practice and working conditions in early childhood education and to build public understanding and support for high-quality early childhood programs.

National Disability & Inclusion Resources

Center for Inclusive Child Care (CICC)
The mission of the Center for Inclusive Child Care is to create, promote and support pathways to successful inclusive care for all children. The project is a comprehensive resource network for promoting and supporting inclusive early childhood and school-age programs and providers. We provide leadership, administrative support, training, and consultation to early care and education providers, school-age care providers, parents, and the professionals who support providers and parents of children with special needs. The Center for Inclusive Child care envisions weaving the common threads of knowledge, respect and sensitivity to create and sustain opportunities for high quality, culturally responsive inclusive care in which children and their families are supported and nurtured.
Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR)
The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR), produced under the US Department of Education Office of Special Education, serves as a central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers and the Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs), so that they can focus their efforts on serving families of children with disabilities. The site provides resources by topic area, some in English and Spanish and when available, by state.
Disability Is Natural
This Web site created by Kathie Snow includes her widely used article on “people-first language” and other resources to support inclusion. She challenges outdated ways of thinking and helps parents, people with disabilities, and professionals acquire new perceptions and attitudes—the first rung on the ladder of change.
Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA)
ECTA is comprised of several recent OSEP-funded TA centers (NECTAC, CELL and TACSEI and ECO within the next two years). The purpose of ECTA is to improve state early intervention and early childhood special education service systems, increase the implementation of effective practices, and enhance the outcomes of these programs for young children and their families.
Fathers Network
The Fathers Network is a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate for men and believes they are crucially important in the lives of their families and children. The network provides supports and resources to fathers and families of children with developmental disabilities and chronic illness, as well as to the professionals who serve them.
National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI)
The National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI) is working with states to ensure that early childhood teachers are prepared to educate and care for young children with disabilities in settings with their typically developing peers.
  • Additional Resources from NPDCI
    • Early Childhood Inclusion Two major early childhood organizations, DEC and NAEYC, created a joint definition and position statement on early childhood inclusion through a process facilitated by the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI). Return here often to discover new resources and examples for using these resources to improve early childhood services.
    • Foundations of Transition Video Today, most families of young children use and move between different types of early childhood services -- like Head Start, private child care, public preschool, or kindergarten. Moving between and among these various programs is often referred to as ’transition’.” This 8-minute video provides an overview of the desirable outcomes of transition, research identifying effective transition practices, as well as the legal requirements of early childhood transition (running time: 8 min. 19 sec.)
    • Speaking of Inclusion (Blog) Inclusion insights, stories and resources for professional development providers as well as practitioners, policy makers and parents. An informative blog brought to you by the National Professional Development Center on Inclusion. Your comments are invited.
    • Response to Intervention in Early Childhood (RTI-EC) The NPCDI facilitated a process with The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the National Head Start Association (NHSA) to create a reliable source of information on the emerging practice of Response to Intervention in Early Childhood.
    • Quality Inclusive Practices: Resources and Landing Pads Provides brief descriptions and supporting references for evidence-based and promising practices that support early childhood inclusion.
    • Building Inclusive Child Care Universal Design for Learning rom North Hampton Community College