Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Where do kids with disabilities go for child care?


February 10, 2020

After giving birth to premature twins, one of whom had a disability, Alexis began the search for child care. She called daycare providers repeatedly to try to get spots for her children. She found it was nearly impossible to find a center with two spots for infants, let alone one who had a disability. Her partner, who worked night shifts, ended up watching the twins during the day for a full year so Alexis could work. Even as Alexis’ children became toddlers, her options remained limited: she had to rule out any centers that did not have elevators or ground floor access due to one twin’s physical disability. She was nervous and cautious of providers who she feared may not pay attention to that child, who also had limited speech. At night, she and her partner would get in bed and “cry because it was just hard.”

Alexis’ experience is all too common for parents of children ages 0 to 5-years-old who have disabilities, a demographic that makes up an estimated 15 percent of the country’s childhood population. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress, parents of young children with disabilities are more likely to experience difficulty finding child care, are less likely to secure a childcare spot and are more likely to experience job disruptions because of problems with child care. Cristina Novoa, the author of the report, interviewed Alexis and 16 other parents, whose last names were withheld for privacy, and analyzed two national datasets on disability and child care. Novoa found that while many parents struggle to find high-quality childcare, the problem is especially acute for the parents of children with disabilities. “They’re experiencing additional barriers…and they’re paying an additional price,” Novoa said. “That means families of children with disabilities are really, really struggling.”


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