Special Kids Special Families

A nonprofit organization

$71,414 raised by 193 donors

71% complete

$100,000 Goal

Our mission is to promote, strengthen, and support individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. Our VISION is to give people in need the resources, compassion and freedom to achieve the life that everyone deserves.


Julie Norwood. Her daughter Shelbie attends Joey’s Place: “I can't speak enough about how wonderful Joey's Place and SKSF have been. If I was to sum it all up in just a line or two... The staff at Joey's Place stand out above others because they treat each person individually, in the moment, and with love and respect.  They are in all accounts our extended family. Because of the individual care the staff provide, Shelbie’s social skills have increased tremendously.  She recognizes each staff individually and addresses them with her own special name. Shelbie has minimal family now and having Joey's Place fills in that social aspect she was missing. “

Kathy Hegemann, a Host Home Provider. Her client is Michelle Bailey: “My experience as a provider for Special Kids Special Families truly is a special one.  It is the individual that I work with that makes it so special.  She is an inspirational young woman that would bah-hah you if she heard you say that.  After several years of working with her, I discovered she has the resoluteness of an Olympic athlete to live the life she wants.  Her career ambition is to become a nurse and she is pursuing her college degree.  And that seizure disorder she has, it is just another obstacle for her to overcome. By using her superpower to seek out and discover the right people to help her on her path, she continually makes great strides towards her goals.  As her provider I do my best to help her on that path. Being a witness to her intrinsic drive is a daily inspiration and motivation for me.  Not only do I accompany her to her medical and therapy appointments, assist with shopping and transportation, mentor and listen, we have also developed a unique friendship over the years.  It is sharing that trusting and caring relationship that is the best thing about being a provider for Special Kids Special Families.“ 

Susan Davenport, her children are Ronald Jones Jr. & Lily Davenport, both preschoolers: “Zach’s Place has given me the peace of mind in knowing that I can still work and provide for my family and not have to worry about my children. I also don’t have to worry about my son getting kicked out of daycare due to his difficult behaviors. Zach’s Place has helped him learn ways to calm down and communicate his feelings. My youngest, Lily, has just started there and she love’s it. Both of my kids love going to preschool. They asked me every day “are we going to school?” When I tell them yes, they get so excited! I would recommend Zach’s Place for any struggling families. I am truly blessed to have found a place my children love and that gives me peace of mind like Zach’s Place.”

Sabrina May, from Chick Family: “Both of my kids live with varying degrees of special needs.  They have been attending Zach’s Place for respite care for five years now. Knowing that they have a place where they are valued and cared for in a supportive, inclusive, and extremely safe way is invaluable to us as a family, not to mention hard to come by. My kids count down days until they get to go and play every week they attend. Knowing that the staff care for my kids as if they were their own, is a gift in so many ways. It allows us to take a break and put the responsibility piece away for a few to truly take care of our own needs as caregivers. We recommend SKSF to all our fellow Special Needs families and will continue to do so. As my kids continue to grow and learn I have peace of mind knowing that they have a place in the community. We are so grateful for this program and encourage others to support them in any way they can! Thanks for all you do!”


Our mission is to promote, strengthen, and support individuals with disabilities, their families & caregivers. We were able to create a mission statement for the agency once we looked through the eyes of our youth and families, our staff and even the people we have yet to meet but know we could come in contact with one day. PROMOTES: means to contribute to the progress, development and to encourage; working on behalf of the individual. STRENGTHENS: means to make strong. Our team is strong as a result of people working together. We can do much when we join to help our clients, each other and our organization. SUPPORTS: means to bear the weight of, hold in position. We are available to our youth, adults, families and to each other. We are there to hear concerns, needs and to help in problem solving. We believe being a part of the identity of our community. We live this mission statement as we work every day and we are committed to making anything possible for all people.

Background Statement

Special Kids Special Families was founded in 1998 to serve families who are caring for youth with disabilities. Founded by two mothers having a loved one with a disability; the organization sought to bridge the gap for services to assist these families. Some parents were especially vulnerable to having their children placed in foster care. Those families include single parent households and parents whose children were adolescent and young adults with severe needs and the families that have limited outside supports. Our approach to serving these families takes on a family preservation model to strengthen and support the entire family unit.

The first developed and founding program is Zach's Place Center. This facility, located in the Colorado Springs area, opened its doors in 1999 and is designed to meet the needs of families providing respite and day care, before & after school, weekend and overnight care for youth ages 2­-18 with disabilities. The center gears the care around the needs of the child and family with a plan for individual goals. The program also offers advocacy, mentoring, life skills training, and social group activities. Referrals are received from private and public agencies, along with individual requests. The program relocated in 2015 to a 5000 sq. ft. remodeled facility and renamed Zach's Place at the Laurie Hillyard Family Center in honor of a large donation to the Zach's Place Capital Campaign..

In December 2000, El Paso County Department of Human Services requested that SKSF write a proposal and program to become a Child Placement Agency (CPA). The county desired to have specialized foster care services for youth with disabilities, including foster and adoptive families. In October 2001, the organization received its license as a CPA. This program provides for more extensive family preservation services, recruitment and training of families to provide out of home care for special needs children. Our specialized foster care program, the Benchmarks Program, is a transitional program for older adolescents and adults with disabilities in the foster care system which assists individuals transition into adulthood. In 2018, with the growth of the Child Placement Agency, we have moved this program to a larger more accommodating facility.

Adult Services day program provides community and center based services to adults ages 18 & older, with developmental disabilities and/or multiple disabling conditions. Our community program encourages individuals to expand their knowledge and experiences out in the Colorado Springs community while maintaining the important connections of family and friends. Joey's Place, our center based adult program, is designed the provide enrichment & recreational activities. Lessons are set up according to the needs and skill levels of the participating individual. Lessons are designed to assist in learning life skills, pre-­vocational skills, and hobbies. In 2022, the Adult Program has developed the Building Connections program which encourages socialization, communication and the development of friendships. This program is themed and turns client ideas into a curriculum. In addition, the Therapeutic Garden Program was developed by a Horticultural Specialist teaching garden skills in a therapeutic environment.

Additional resources and programs include: nursing services, adult residential care, home and community based respite, crisis respite, behavioral health services and homecare services. We also provide transportation services that are available to provide accessibility to individuals that lack service in the neighborhood to access our programs.

We are happy to announce that in 2019, we have been approved to offer Behavioral Health Services through the RAE (Regional Accountable Entities) - a 14 month work and effort. We are setting up policies and procedures for new behavioral health clinicians. We are working to also provide crisis respite services. We are excited about this new program and offering it to those in need of services such as diagnostic clinical evaluation, individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, psychoeducational group, case management, mental health screening, home based intervention services and co-occurring treatment (mental health/substance use). We'll offer all services in Spanish.

In addition, SKSF has been approved to offer Homecare Services to children and adults on the SLS waiver to assist with activities of daily living in their home. SKSF is now able to offer Personal Care, Homemaker and Respite Services.

Organization Data


Organization name

Special Kids Special Families

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Human Services


Administration Office 1915 Aerotech Drive, Ste. 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80916


Zach's Place at the Laurie Hillyard Family Center 4795 Granby Circle
Colorado Springs, CO 80919


Adult Services 3450 N Nevada Avenue Suite 110
Colorado Springs, CO 80907


Child Placement Agency 1915 Aerotech Drive, Ste. 108
Colorado Springs, CO 80916

Service areas

El Paso County, CO, US









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