Child’s Way - Offering Much Needed Care for Children with Complex Medical Needs

At the National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon in October of 2013, $136,900 was awarded in grants for innovative research programs to pediatric hospitals and to organizations with special programs that care for children with critical and life threatening illnesses.

One of the grant recipients was the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center, receiving $10,000 towards their Child’s Way program. Child’s Way provides a vital alternative or supplemental care for children with acute and chronic medical needs, giving kids the care they need while also offering educational and social activities. Our guest blogger today is Kelsey L. Williams, MPH of The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh and Lemieux Family Center, who gives a comprehensive look into Child’s Way’s history and services.

The work of The Children's Home of Pittsburgh began in 1893 as The Pennsylvania Children's Home Society. The organisation was founded to care for orphaned children and place them in permanent homes. The Adoption Program still thrives today after 120 years of operation. In the 1980s and 1990s, The Children's Home added two distinct, innovative medical programs with the purpose of furthering the continuum of care for children. The Pediatric Specialty Hospital (formerly Transitional Infant Care) opened in 1984 to provide a new model of sub-acute care for infants and their families; in 2007 this model was expanded to include patients up to age 21 with a wide variety of diagnoses. In 1998, Child’s Way was established as yet another model of alternative care for pediatric patients – a Pediatric Extended Care Center; in other words, Child’s Way® is a day care for children with complex medical needs.

The Children's Home established Child's Way as the first Pediatric Extended Care Center (PECC) in Pennsylvania to fill a significant gap in pediatric healthcare services with an innovative program – an alternative and supplement to home care for children with complex medical needs, ages birth to 21. The program provides medically skilled, daytime child care and therapeutic services, allowing families to maintain their employment and health insurance, or continue their education, while their children receive appropriate care. As the only alternative to home care nursing, Child’s Way offers coordinated services in one easy location, which helps ease the sense of isolation many of these families experience and relieves some of the demand created by the nursing shortage. We are the only PECC serving children in Allegheny County.

Staffed by pediatric registered nurses and child care associates, providing comprehensive care, the activities, interaction with other children, and therapies at Child’s Way ensure that each child receives the physical, emotional and intellectual stimulation that he or she needs to live a fuller, happier life and reach developmental milestones. 
  • Child’s Way has served over 350 children and their families 
  • 75 individual children were served in fiscal year 2013 
  • 32 new children were admitted to Child’s Way in 2013 (A program high!) 
  • In 2013, 10 children transitioned to traditional classroom settings which is the ultimate goal of the program, whenever medically and developmentally possible for a child
The programs of The Children’s Home & Lemieux Family Center continue to adapt and change in response to new needs in the community and are able to thrive by the generosity of organizations, foundations and individuals, committed to helping this region’s children and families. The grant provided by the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society allows The Children’s Home to provide scholarships to Child’s Way families, to ease the financial burden of providing the necessary care required by their child, which makes a tremendous impact.

For more information about Child’s Way or The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center, visit our website: