WI19-03: Child Care for Families Raising Children with Disabilities: The Role of Federal Policy in Equitable Access



Despite consistent evidence that families with children with disabilities face great difficulty in balancing employment and caregiving, little is known about the role federal policies play in supporting employment of parents of children with disabilities. For a variety of reasons, finding appropriate child care for children with disabilities may be more challenging and may cost more than for other families. Yet, access to affordable child care is crucial for parents to work outside of the home. Several federal policies are intended to increase access to child care for these families. Yet, whether they are effective in doing so remains unclear. If families’ need for child care is not met by existing policies and programs, then this may dampen their economic wellbeing. If it is sufficient, then such policies may reduce families’ use of other public benefits, including decreased reliance on childhood Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. This project asks: (1) how and whether parents of young children with disabilities are accessing child care; and (2) to what extent current child care policies for young children with disabilities —and, thus, access to appropriate, affordable child care—are supporting parental employment. Findings can provide information to SSA, other federal agencies, and additional stakeholders about the extent to which current federal child care supports are effectively supporting parental employment for parents of children with disabilities


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