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Child Caregivers

All parents, at some time, will probably seek child care. For families with a child who needs more supervision or specialized assistance, child care may be difficult to find—or feel comfortable with. However, even if you do not work outside the home and do not need regular child care, you may benefit greatly from having child care on a periodic or even an ongoing basis. This will give you time to take care of personal matters, enjoy some leisure activity, or be relieved of the constant need to care for a child with a disability or chronic illness.

You may also benefit from respite care, a system of temporary child care provided by people familiar with the needs of children with disabilities. “Temporary” can range from an hour to several months, depending on the respite care provider and the needs and desires of the family. Many respite care providers have undergone specialized training and can knowledgeably care for children whose needs may range from close supervision to medical care. Respite care can be provided to infants, teenagers, or adults with special needs. In some cases, the respite provider may be able to provide care only for the child with the disability; in other cases, care may be available for siblings as well. Respite care generally differs from daycare in that it is not available on a daily basis to allow a parent to return to the work force.

To find out more about respite services, contact the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center. ARCH operates the National Respite Locator Service whose mission is to help parents locate respite care services in their area. Call the Locator Service at (800) 773-5433 (toll free), or visit the ARCH website. Although many parents initially may feel reluctant to leave their child with special needs in the care of someone else, those who have tried it give ample testimony to its value in restoring their energy, sense of humor, and perspective.

Content provided courtesy of the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY).








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This content was last modified on: 09/08/2008

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