Raising a child with complex needs can be challenging. As a parent, it can be difficult to admit that you are finding it tough, but there is no shame in it. Parenthood is always a tough job. Children need a lot of care and attention. You have to bathe and feed them, teach them about the world, and prevent them from making poor decisions. But when your child has a disability or other special needs, this creates a range of additional tasks and challenges for you to deal with.


It is totally understandable and reasonable that you might want a bit more time to yourself. Raising a child with a disability can become your life, and you might find yourself with less time and energy to focus on your partner or other children. Or even just to look after your own mental and physical health. 

Finding a caregiver for your child is an excellent solution if you find yourself in this situation. It should not be seen as a cop-out, but rather a way to provide additional, and more skilled, help for your child. You’re not superhuman, and there’s only so much you can do by yourself before you feel drained and exhausted. Taking a break is essential to help you recharge and be a better parent to your little one.

But how do you find the right caregiver? It’s a huge decision as you will be letting someone into your child’s life to spend a great deal of time with them. Of course all carers will be experienced and have background checks, but it is still important to find the perfect person who will click with your child and provide exactly the care they need. If your child is over 21, they could even choose another family member to be their personal caregiver with programs like cdpap.com.

To help you make your decisions, here are a few tips for finding care for a child with special needs.

Work out what you need

Every child will have a completely different set of unique needs and requirements. Will you need a live-in carer or someone to come in for a few hours each day? Perhaps even less regularly than that. Will their caregiver need to be able to drive them to school or prepare them food? Will they need to help with personal tasks such as bathing and going to the bathroom? Being clear on your requirements will make it a lot easier to find the right person with the necessary skills and experience. 

Do your research

Conduct some extensive research into all the agencies and private caregivers local to your home. Get in touch with different people and ask for their rates. How much you can afford to pay will help you with your decision.

Ask the right questions

Once you have narrowed down your search, you will need to interview potential carers. Get a sense of who they are and how well they interact with your child. You need to be sure they will be a good fit, so don’t be afraid to ask them a lot of questions.

Helpful resources for families with additional needs: 

Cpfamilynetwork.org – info and resources for families with special needs

Parenting a child with a hidden disability – helpful thoughts and advice