for Private and Homeschooled Children with Disabilities

Why Partner with children first?

Children First partners with eligible private schools to provide scholarships to their students and to serve as a resource for families seeking this school choice

Children First will provide assistance to your school in the process of receiving and maintaining state approval to participate in the program. 

Children First promotes our partner school by including them on our website and on marketing materials

Children First Education Fund founders and leadership have over three decades of combined experience in education administration, choice and innovation, and possess a variety of skills and experience to make the program a success

Becoming a Children First Partner School

At Children First Education Fund, we understand the importance of working closely with our partner schools, our families, and our generous donors to achieve our shared mission of providing a quality education choice for students with disabilities. CFEF is here to support schools in the process of becoming qualified to receive scholarship funds under the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program. We offer support to our partner schools from recruitment through application, to delivering a quality education for students with disabilities.

To participate in the program, students and schools must meet eligibility requirements established in Utah Code §53E-7-4 and the Utah State Board of Education Administrative Rule R277-626.

Scholarships are generally awarded for a term of three years and may be renewed in 3-year increments, so long as the student continues to demonstrate eligibility. Scholarship awards vary based on family income and tuition rates of qualifying schools.

The Children First Education Fund is funded by generous donations of individuals and businesses that may receive a 100% nonrefundable Utah state income tax credit. Scholarships are not guaranteed, but are
subject to the availability of funds, with priority given to existing scholarship students.

To participate in the program and accept CFEF scholarships, a school must meet all of the requirements set forth in Utah Code Section 53E-7-4 and R277-626 for qualifying schools and eligible private schools.

Application Procedures

The application process includes acquiring approval by the Utah State Board of Education and an onboarding process with Children First.
Click here to apply to the USBE. This application must be completed and submitted to the Utah State Board of Education. Children First will be notified when the USBE has approved a private school.

Once approved, participating schools must complete the onboarding process below.

Application to Become a Children First Partner School

Includes Qualifying School Assurances

1. I have reviewed Utah Code 53E-7-4 and 53A-1a-704
2. I have reviewed Utah Administrative Rules R277-626
3. I have reviewed the "Becoming a Children First Education Fund Qualifying School" information
4. I intend to participate in the program to CFEF
5. I have been approved by the State Board of Ed to participate in the program and will submit evidence if requested.
6. I am prepared to submit an “Affidavit” of commitment to comply with laws, rules and conditions of participation in the program to CFEF
7. I am prepared to give assurances to prerequisites listed below.


1. My school has given notice to CFEF of intent to participate in the program.
2. My school has submitted evidence to CFEF of State Board approval to participate in the program.
3. My school has submitted a signed affidavit to CFEF that it will comply with requirements of Utah state laws and rules regarding participation in the program.
4. My school will comply with antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 and 42 U.S.C. 2000d.
5. if receiving more than $100,000/yr. in scholarship funds, my school will provide a surety bond payable to CFEF or demonstrate financial viability as required by law and by CFEF for participation in the program. If unable to comply with this part, scholarship disbursements may be interrupted or withheld.
6. My school will notify CFEF immediately if State Board withdraws approval as a qualifying school.
7. My school will administer an annual norm-referenced assessment of each scholarship student’s academic progress and report the results to the student’s parent.
8. My school will initiate and conduct assessment team meetings for each scholarship student at least once every 3 years to determine ongoing student eligibility, and will maintain documentation of assessments, including confidentiality and privacy protections as prescribed by law for participation in the program.
9. My school will comply with accounting and auditing requirements for participation in the program.
10. My school meets state and local health and safety laws and codes, has the required emergency preparedness response plan and protocols, and complies with Utah Health Department rules for safe schools under R392-200.
11. My school will provide written disclosures to parents of prospective student, prior to enrollment, the special education services that will be provided, the costs of services, tuition costs and additional fees, skill or grade level of curriculum in which the student will participate.
12. My school will engage teachers who meet professional qualifications required to participate in the program, will maintain documentation of the qualifications of teachers of scholarship students, and will provide such documentation to parents of scholarship students.
13. My school will conduct criminal background checks and ongoing monitoring of employees and volunteers as required for participation in the program.
14. My school will notify the State Board and CFEF of ownership changes.
15. My school will notify CFEF within five days if a student discontinues enrollment for any reason, and will reimburse remaining scholarship money to CFEF.
16. My school will provide student records in a timely manner to other private or public schools requesting records if a student transfers or withdraws

Approximate award amounts based on family income for students with an IEP. Students without an IEP are eligible for a reduced amount of $4,038. Siblings may be eligible for a reduced amount of $2,019.