Disabilities and Work-Family Challenges: Parents Having Children with Special Health Care Needs


  • Eileen M. Brennan
  • Julie M. Rosenzweig
  • Anna M. Malsch

Document type: Encyclopedia entry

Year: 2008


  • Childcare
  • Disabilities
  • Public Policy
  • Social Support
  • Work and Family


  • Child Development
  • Social Work


Employed parents caring for children with disabilities often find the integration of work and family responsibilities very challenging (Kagan, Lewis, & Heaton, 1998; Rosenzweig, Brennan, & Ogilvie, 2002). Child care arrangements are hard to find and maintain, routine health care appointments must often be scheduled during parents’ workdays, children’s health or mental health crises can disrupt working hours in unpredictable ways, and special education arrangements must be established and updated. However, the necessary supportive community resources that help facilitate integration are usually tailored for families of children with typical development (Rosenzweig & Brennan, 2008). As a result, employers may lose the benefit of these parents’ valuable experience, knowledge, and skills when families cannot marshal the supports they need to take care of their children with disabilities while maintaining their employment (Powers, 2003; Rosenzweig & Huffstutter, 2004).

Link:Disabilities_and_Work-Life_Challenges Encyclopedia