Families Struggle To Find Child Care For Kids With Special Needs
Parents of those with disabilities are more likely to face barriers lining up child care, a new report finds, forcing them to lean on a patchwork of providers and disrupting their careers.
An analysis of a national government survey shows that a third of parents of youngsters with disabilities are unable to find child care. By contrast, 28 percent of other moms and dads reported such troubles.
The findings come from a report out late last month from the Center for American Progress that looked at data from the federal 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey.
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Nearly a quarter of children with disabilities received care from multiple sources compared to just 13 percent of typically-developing kids, the report found. And, parents of those with special needs were 50 percent more likely than others to cite a lack of available slots.
Child care difficulties left parents of children with disabilities reporting that they faced career disruptions like leaving or declining a job at triple the rate of other moms and dads, according to the research.
“Finding quality, affordable and reliable child care in America is a challenge for many families, but this research shows that it is an even greater burden for families who have children with disabilities,” said Cristina Novoa, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and the author of the report. “In order to promote children’s learning and healthy development and enable more parents to pursue opportunities that allow their families to thrive, policymakers should increase investments in child care and reform programs to ensure they are accessible for all.”