Tips for Hiring a Special Needs Care Provider for Your Child


January 30, 2015

As a parent, guardian, sibling of a child or having children with special needs, often you may need a time-out for yourself, just to regroup, refresh or recharge. If you are the primary caregiver, this could mean working for a few hours each day, spending time alone running errands, meeting a friend to catch up, or heading out to dinner with your spouse or significant other. Regardless of the reason, having some time to focus on you will help you be a better mom, dad, caregiver for those depending on you.

Now, the question is… who steps in, while you step out? Finding the right person to care for your child may be as easy as asking a grandparent or aunt/uncle who is close to your children and understands their needs. That may not always be an option. has outlined some great tips to consider.

  1. Know your Options. Are you looking for an in-home provider, a day-care setting or someone who may have a small daycare in their home? Before jumping right in, you will need to assess what option will be the best choice for your child, based on their needs and yours as well. If you know you child gets anxious in a public setting, maybe an in-home provider or a small home-base daycare might be the best option. If you are the primary caregiver and are looking to regularly schedule a few hours each day or every other day to run errands, maybe the socialization and structured schedule of a larger daycare might fit your needs.
  2. Criteria. Does your child require medicine administration? Does your care provider require your child to be toilet trained? There are a number of questions you should be able to ask and in-turn be ready to answer when setting up a care plan for your child. You may only need respite help for a few hours, but your care provider needs to know all expectations up front. Do you need them to be certified professionals? What experience do you require? Do you agree with their discipline measures when your child acts out? Create a list or outline of all those things which are important to you and check them off as you meet with your potential care providers.
  3. Take a tour or meet your candidates. The best way to know if a solution is best, is to see first-hand. Schedule a tour of a daycare facility. Set-up a meeting or interview with your in-home care providers. Ask to meet or talk to other parents, clients or references to see get their feedback and input into their experiences. There is only so much paper can tell you. If a candidate or program looks great on paper, but you or your child don’t mesh well in-person, then all the 5-star ratings and consumer feedback isn’t going to mean a thing. Making sure a candidate or program is the right fit personally is just as important as doing your research behind the scenes.

At the end of the day, you need someone who is going to love your child and provide the necessary care and attention you would if you were there. While no one can fill your shoes, you need someone who has the skill, compassion and love to try. Finding the right person or provider may be difficult, but in the end, when that right fit comes along you and your child will benefit from their expertise, care and attention.

For additional resources, programs and assistance, click here for a list of helpful links.