Finding child care outside of the home is the norm for most parents in the United States. Nearly 60 percent of children 5-years-old or younger are in child care on a regular basis, and 44 percent of infants are in child care for more than 30 hours a week. But how easy is it for parents of a child with special needs to find appropriate child care?
Research supports what you might already suspect: finding child care for a child with special needs is more difficult than finding care for a child without special needs. One of the ways we know this is that mothers of children with special needs do not return to the work force when their child is a year old at the same rate as the mothers of typically-developing children. Along these same lines, children with special needs enter child care at an older age, and for fewer hours per week.
An article in Pediatrics reported that when parents must return to work, and high-needs children enter child care, these children are more likely to be cared for by a relative and less likely to be enrolled in a child-care home or center. But parents say that care by relatives is generally higher quality than other types of child care. This finding suggests that despite some difficulties finding appropriate care, families of children with special needs on average were able to find high-quality care that satisfied them.
But what if your child has special medical needs and it is not obvious what child care is most appropriate for your situation, or family care is just not an option?
Next week, in Part II of this SharePost, I will provide you with a list of things you need to consider if you are ready to return to work and need child care for a high-needs child.
Published On: December 05, 2007