Child Care and Children with Special Needs: Challenges for Low Income Families
This project, conducted in Maine, examined the child care and work challenges of low income families with children with special needs. Faced with the often impossible task of finding suitable, stable child care for their special needs child, many parents are nevertheless forced by economic necessity to join the labor force. Despite the higher incidence of disabilities and chronic health problems among low income children, there has been surprisingly little research done about the experiences of these families in balancing work and family.
Staff from the Cutler Institute, Children, Youth and Families Program area, conducted a three-year study funded by the Child Care Bureau, Administration for Children, Youth and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to learn more about the challenges of this vulnerable subpopulation. While our primary focus was on access to child care, we also examined the related issues of welfare reform, the impact on work force participation of having a child with special needs, and the issue of coordination of early intervention services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act with the child care system.
Our goal was to understand better the issues facing low income families with children with special needs across the programs and policies affecting their employment, access to child care and meeting the special needs of their children. We conducted focus groups of parents and individual, in-depth interviews with child care and other service providers who interact with this population. We also conducted a statewide survey of child care providers and parents of children with special needs. Lastly, we analyzed data from the National Survey of America
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State and Wabanaki Tribes Sign Truth and Reconciliation Mandate
On June 29, 2012, five Wabanaki Chiefs and Governor Paul LePage signed a Mandate document commencing the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine Maine child welfare practices affecting Wabanaki people.
The ceremony represents a historic agreement between Wabanaki Tribal Governments and the State of Maine to uncover and acknowledge the truth, create opportunities to heal and learn from the truth, and collaborate to operate the best child welfare system possible for Wabanaki children, a goal shared by all the signatories to the Mandate.