Workforce Participation of Parents of Children and Youth with Mental Health Difficulties: The Impact of Community Services and Supports. By: Sellmaier, Claudia; Stewart, Lisa M.; Brennan, Eileen M. Community, Work & Family. Dec2020, Vol. 23 Issue 5, p534-555. 22p.

This study explored the effects of demands related to caring for children and youth with mental health difficulties and of resources in community ecologies including health services, schools, neighborhoods, and social supports, on parental workforce participation. Through secondary analysis of U.S. data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, we found that when children’s mental health issues were more severe, parents experienced frustration with their ability to get services and spent more time providing health care, they were less likely to be employed. Community factors were critical: employed parents reported more frequent contact from the school system, and fewer days that their child missed school. When family members spent more time providing and arranging for health care, were frustrated in their attempts to get services, and reported children missing more school, they cut back their work hours or stopped working. We concluded that parent workforce disengagement patterns were related to demands of exceptional care and to the lack of available community resources. As employers struggle to retain talented workforces, the diversity of employees raising a child or youth with a disabling health condition must be acknowledged, and community supports strengthened.