Education Spotlight: Program helps students with special needs beyond childhood years

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

Landon Burke learned about a program that supports local families with special needs.

He learned how the Challenged Family Resource Center provides support for special needs students beyond their childhood years and well into adulthood.

Landon: Could you just tell me a little bit about the Challenged Family Resource Center just for people who aren't familiar with it?

Jodi Frade: Challenge Family Resource Center is an agency that helps families who have children with special needs find services and receive support. We also have a day program for adults with special needs, and they come and enjoy the community, what the community has to offer. They give back to the community. They do a variety of activities in our community.

Landon: So I noticed that you guys have the masks on, you guys are following the policy. How has COVID affected your operations, Jodi?

Jodi: Well, in the day program, we are on a hybrid schedule. So our clients are now coming two days a week, following protocol for COVID, and we're trying to keep everyone as safe as possible and keep them still engaged with our community.

Landon: Now Mikey, How long have you been coming to this organization?

Jodi: So I think he's been here for about six years.

Landon: Mikey, tell me a little bit about what you like about coming here?

Mikey Castro: I love it here. I have my friends, and Karey, and we like it here! We love it.

Landon: What do you guys want people to know who are watching this segment at home?

Jodi: Challenge Family Resource Center has been up and running since 1992, helping families who have children with special needs. We also have a day program for adults with special needs. We have a very close relationship with Merced County Office of Education in helping families. We receive referrals from MCOE, and we help families advocate for their children and become really involved in their IEP process. During transition, many of our students have gone through the transition program with Merced County Office of Ed. After the transition program, many of them come to Challenged, to our Dream program, for adults with special needs. Our relationship with Merced County Office of Ed has been since 1992, and they support our clients well into adulthood. You know, many of our, of our clients here have worked at the Wired Cafe. Merced County Office of Ed does not end, necessarily, at the age of 22.
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