Parents With Disabilities: A Case Study Exploration of Support Needs and the Potential of a Supportive Intervention

Sharyn DeZelar, Elizabeth Lightfoot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Due to growing awareness of increased child welfare involvement for parents who have disabilities and a dearth of current services, the National Council on Disability has called for an increase in parental supports and programs. Through the exploration of four case studies, this article highlights the complex parental support needs of parents with disabilities and explores the potential of a parent-centered planning intervention to strengthen their parental supports. The case study analysis reveals that parents with disabilities often have a limited number of informal and formal supports, that sources of informal support for parents with disabilities often had their own unmet needs, and that the overall support networks of parents with disabilities were fragile. The case studies show that while parents participating in a parent-centered planning intervention might not expand their support networks, they often do take steps toward meeting their self-identified support goals. Implications for practice are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-304
Number of pages12
JournalFamilies in Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2019



  • case studies
  • family-centered practice
  • parents with disabilities
  • person-centered practices

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