A campaign to finance a home away from home for familes who have seriously ill children in Washington-area hospitals began recently at Children's Hospital National Medical Center.

The home at 1326 Quincy St. NE is designed for families who bring their children to Children's Hospital and other area pediatric treatment facilities from places too distant for frequent commuting, those who need to be near the hospital because of the serious nature of their children's illnesses or families bringing their children from long distances for a series of daily out-patient treatments. Children being treated on such a basis would spend nights at the house with their parents.

Families will be charged $5 per night to stay at the house, and in cases of financial need, there is to be no charge. When completed, the house will have 16 bedrooms, a kitchen, laundry facilities, lounges and recreation rooms.

The cost of buying and renovating the house is $550,000 and McDonald's Washington Area Family Restaurants have pledged $150,000 over a three-year period. The remainder of the funds are to be raise through gifts from the community.

The house is a project of Children's Oncology Services of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Inc., a nonprofit organization of parents whose children have been treated in area hospitals for serious health problems. Children's Oncology Services will operate the house after it opens.