Where special needs find a home

About A Step Ahead

Founded by our Executive Director, Candy Watkins, A Step Ahead first opened its doors in 2001. Our name was chosen to describe not only the progress of children who enroll in our program, but also the forward-thinking culture of this non profit organization.

In 2000, birth to three services in our community were usually provided in specialized classes for toddlers with developmental delays. Although they certainly had a role in helping to develop social skills in young children, many parents were losing out on the significant benefits of a home visiting program.

Candy opened A Step Ahead with the commitment to broaden the services delivered to children in their homes and childcares and to continue to offer progressive and proven options. We were the first organization to offer speech therapy in homes and were proud to help support the development of Language Preschools.

A Step Ahead is also recognized for our collaborative approach. We continue to forge successful partnerships with Early Head Start, Children’s Therapy Center and the Children’s Museum of Tacoma for our joint Inclusive Play to Learn classes.


Today, you’ll also find one of the region’s most experienced, energetic and talented staffs here. While some faces have changed and we continue to innovate and grow our skills, one thing remains constant: our belief that every child with special needs can find a home at A Step Ahead.


Our vision is a community that embraces and integrates children of all abilities and treasures the unique gifts each child possesses.


Supporting families of infants and toddlers with special needs by enhancing their development and relationships both at home and in their community.


Our Annual Reports

Principles and Values

  • We will do our work in a way that treats the well-being of children as our highest priority.
  • We will provide family-centered services in a manner that promotes trust, respect, and confidence with the families we serve.
  • Our behaviors will be of the highest ethical standards. We will always conduct ourselves with compassion, sensitivity and honesty.
  • We will demonstrate integrity through the operation of a transparent organization in the form of board oversight and fiscal responsibility.
  • We will be both creative and collaborative in our approach to building a vital community.

Our Board

Amy Schreiber, RN
Vice President

CHI Franciscan Health

Nancy Scott

Community Volunteer

Scott Leingang

Mortgage Team Leader at Heritage Bank

Andrea Pearson

Empres Health

Stacy Merrifield, DO

Sound Family Medicine

David Pozolinski
Executive Director

A Step Ahead in Pierce County