Hi vburley, welcome to our community! A day care center for people with special needs certainly sounds like a much needed service to your community, and it's great that you want to help provide this care.
The first thing you should probably due is to check with your state and local government offices to find out what specific types of licensing and permits that you may need. The National Council of Nonprofits will help you answer some questions about nonprofits. You can find more information at: Frequently Asked Questions About Nonprofits | National Council of Nonprofits . You should also check the IRS website for non profit rules.
Have you created a business plan yet? A business plan is essential for any new business, whether it's a for profit or nonprofit business. If you're not sure where to start, we have an excellent guide available that will be helpful in that process: Guide: How to develop a business plan.
I know this is a lot of information at once, so please let us know how things progress and if you have any additional questions. We have a great community here who will be glad to help!