Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Child Care and Children With Special Needs: Challenges for Low Income Families.


Findings from this mixed methods study include:

  • Parents of young children with special needs face significant challenges finding and keeping child care arrangements for their child.
  • Parents report significant problems with the child care arrangements they have used for their child with special needs.
  • There are significant programmatic and financial barriers to supporting parents of children with special needs so they can work, and balance work and family.
  • The combination of all of these problems and the particular demands of caring for a child with special needs often result in employment problems and job instability.
  • Families of children with special needs face more economic difficulties (poverty, food and rent insecurity, lack of health insurance) than do families of children without special needs.
  • Certain types of disabilities have a greater impact on the number of child care and work problems than others.
  • Having a child with multiple special needs or having more than one child with special needs significantly increases the likelihood of employment difficulties and job instability.

Suggested Citation: Ward H, Morris L, Oldham E, et al.  Child Care and Children With Special Needs: Challenges for Low Income Families.  Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Cutler Institute for Child and Family Policy; December 2006.

Publication Type: 
Publish Date: 
December 1, 2006

Nellie Mae Education Foundation nominates Pious Ali for the Lawrence W. O'Toole Award

Pious Ali

Pious Ali, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist in Cutler’s Children, Youth, and Families Programs, has been nominated for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Pious is one of six nominees from the New England states.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation believes that student-centered learning – where learning is personalized, engaging, competency-based and not restricted to the classroom – will prepare young people to graduate high school ready to contribute to their communities and succeed. This award is given out each year to an individual, school district, or non-profit that has exhibited great leadership in moving student-centered approaches to learning forward in the New England region.

The winner will be selected by online voting and will be awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student centered learning!


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MYTC 2014 Celebration

Colby Swettberg, May 2014, MYTC

Every year the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative brings together youth and adult partners from around Maine to celebrate the year's achievements and milestones.

MYTC’s fourth annual celebration dinner was held at the Brunswick Hotel and Tavern on May 13, 2014. Over seventy young adults, adult partners, professionals, legislators, adoptive families, and friends came together for an evening of fun, renewed connections, learning, and good food.

The importance of mentors in the lives of young people was the theme for the evening. The keynote speaker, Colby Swettberg, Executive Director of Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring in Boston, was introduced by Jacob Hills. Ms. Swettberg talked about what good mentor-mentee relationships look like for youth in foster care and led a discussion about best practices and challenges to bringing youth and mentors together.

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