Document Type


Publication Date



Child Care, Children with special needs, Child care - economics


Findings from this mixed methods study include:

  • Parents of young children with special needs face significant challenges finding and keeping child care arrangements for their child.
  • Parents report significant problems with the child care arrangements they have used for their child with special needs.
  • There are significant programmatic and financial barriers to supporting parents of children with special needs so they can work, and balance work and family.
  • The combination of all of these problems and the particular demands of caring for a child with special needs often result in employment problems and job instability.
  • Families of children with special needs face more economic difficulties (poverty, food and rent insecurity, lack of health insurance) than do families of children without special needs.
  • Certain types of disabilities have a greater impact on the number of child care and work problems than others.
  • Having a child with multiple special needs or having more than one child with special needs significantly increases the likelihood of employment difficulties and job instability.


© copyright 2006 Catherine E. Cutler Institute for Child and Family Policy Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service University of Southern Maine ISBN 978-0-9708327-4-0

Funding Organization

Child Care and Children with Special Needs: Challenges for Low Income Families was supported by a three year grant (Federal Grant # 90YE0036) from the Child Care Bureau, Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.