Catholic Resources For Families With Special Needs Children


I am the mother of two children with special needs – a six year old son and a six month old daughter. I have not found any specifically Catholic resources for families with children with special needs in my diocese or elsewhere. Does anyone know of any programs?

God Bless. :slight_smile:


Hi “DeannaMarie” I don’t have an answer to your specific question, but I’d like to invite you to join our “Catholic Caregivers” group… here at CAF. It’s a fairly new group, and one of the things we’re starting to do… is to post helpful links… of the sort you’re seeking.

We also give one another support… by sharing stories and praying for each other. The group exists for any and all caregivers… whether caring for an elderly parent, special needs children, people recovering from illness… or whatever.

The primary purpose is not for medical resources… but a place to share and seek spiritual support. I hope you will join us. I will send you a formal “invitation”.

God bless you!


do you have a catholic university nearby? or even a regular college? Many students are taking up studies in special education and need field hours. Some would work/voulenteer in a babysitter capacity, while others would practice therepy skills (such as walking, talking, eating) While this isn’t parental support it can provide many free or low cost hours of support.

Also check your local craig’s list. Again, they mayn’t be catholic but you could find some good resources (and even catholics) among them.


I’m not sure what kind of special needs your children have or what type of resources you are looking for, but in the in the field of Catholic Religious Ed, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Program is the biggest one that I know of.


Here is a link to the Rose Kennedy Program.

Our parish offers Faith Formation programming for kids with various special needs.


My children’s special needs are medical, physical, and intellectual. We are very active members at our parish, and my six year old already attends religious education classes with a younger class. There are not enough children with special needs to have a separate class.

I am looking for Catholic resources for the family members – mom, dad, brothers, and sisters. I am surprised that I am not finding anything. Thanks. :slight_smile:


please check the national Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry.

i am so sorry your family is not part of our parish. we’ll be offering inclusion ministry catechesis this year (again) and perhaps special gatherings for the families.


I am not surprised that you have not found what you are looking for within your church community.

I have a special needs child too and I find that there is not support available in our churches. There really isn’t any support for moms in general. There seems to be a lot of retired people / elderly programs and there is the Knights of Columbus and a Men’s group, but there is only a alter group for women and they just clean together. I actually went on our parish’s website and looked through all of there programs and not a single one was for moms, small children, families, special-needs people, etc… Not a single one, yet we have no less than 30 other programs.

When I was working, my children had to attend secular or Jewish daycare even though I would have preferred to send them to a Catholic one. I have yet to find a Catholic daycare! Anywhere??!! How many Catholic mothers out there have to work?? More than a handful, I am sure! I would have also liked to have networked with other young mothers, but there seems to be no forum for this in any of the churches that I have attended. So, trying to find a support network for special needs parents seems so far-fetched for me. It has been a disappointing experience for me. Since we have received my daughter’s diagnosis, we have needed the support more than ever and it just seems to be nonexistent.

It is interesting…the Catholic church sends the message that we should marry in the church, have children (if we can), raise the children in the faith and practice our faith right down to sticking a thermometer in our mouths every morning to form all of these charts, but once the children are here, it is time to support the families, show leadership and caring to families of special needs children, or even network other parents to support one another. The Catholic communities fall flat on this note. It is really sad. There are times when I need this support and fellowship and it is simply not there. Even the offer for a prayer or two said on behalf of my daughter would bring comfort to us, but our church has no forum for this.


There are certainly many areas of need that (regrettably) go unfulfilled in our parishes (though, in my area, there’s a rather large Mom’s group, as well as a “Ministry to Moms”).

When I am tempted to be upset by this, I try to remind myself that our priests simply cannot do everything (nor should they). Oftentimes, I think the Lord is calling on us to fill those needs when we see them. If we think there ought to be a group for such-and-such, perhaps God is calling us to be the one to start it.

Just something to consider. :slight_smile:


I am offended. Your response, gentle as it may be, reveals your lack of understanding about the struggles of families who have children with special needs. I am very active in my parish, and have taught adult bible studies and children’s religious education classes, started mom’s groups and a women’s book club, and participated in homeschool groups. However, after my son was born, I had to give up much of these activities because he needed continual care. And there was no one else to provide it. The expectation that the grieving, caregiving mom will create her own support group is ridiculous.


You have my sincerest apologies. I certainly didn’t mean to offend. You are correct that I certainly do not understand what you’re going through (having no experience with special needs children myself). I can only imagine that someone in your situation has far less free time to devote to such things.

If I may clarify where I’m coming from, I wasn’t suggesting that anyone is obligated to devote their limited free time to creating an entire program. Sometimes all it takes is a brief meeting with the pastor to apprise him of the need and a note in the bulletin to see if other people are interested in networking or forming a small group (even if you only meet online rather than in person).

I didn’t mean to imply that anyone here isn’t doing enough. From experience in other areas, I see a lot of people who don’t consider that they can help fill a need because they think it will involve more work than it actually does. I only wanted to toss it out as something to consider. If it’s a bad/unworkable suggestion, then, by all means, please ignore me and accept my humblest apologies. You would know much better than I would know.



As the older sister of a boy with Trisomy 18, I understand completely your need for support.

A wonderful, faithful group you should look into is Prenatal Partners for Life. Their website is

As the name suggests, they deal primarily with people looking for support when receiving an adverse diagnosis for their unborn child. But they also offer support to families with special needs children of any age. The group links up families who have children with similar special needs-- it is great to talk to people who understand the joys and challenges our families face.

The founder is a devout Catholic, as are the group’s spiritual directors, but they offer assistance to all people.

God Bless you!! I’ll keep your family in my prayers!:slight_smile:


I understand all too well what you are experiencing. The Catholic church (as much as I am devoted to her) needs a real “makeover” in this area. Not because Catholics don’t care…it’s just an area that has been inadvertently overlooked. Most particularly in the area of Catholic school inclusion of children with special needs and also outreach to adults living with disAbility. I know of many people with disAbilities that have sadly not received the Sacraments which is very sad.

I have a daughter with disAbilities, you must know that there are many dioceses that have wonderful programs, unfortunately the diocese I live in is not one of them. A small group of parents are trying to create interest and initiative here where I live. I don’t know a lot, but I am willing to share what I know. A small group of us started a local website called “Exceptional Catholic Minnesota” and we are interested in branching out nationally (eventually.)

Please know I will keep you and all here in my special prayers. Please send me a message and (if you desire) I can email you what I have if you are interested. God bless.


You are expressing the same frustration that I feel. Support for families of special needs children is no doubt one area of pro-life ministry that has been overlooked. For now, I encourage you to continue to share your need for help. Perhaps we can do something to change this. God Bless. :slight_smile:


I would like to know more about these programs. Can you post some of the information here so that other people can benefit as well? I will try to send you a message in the next couple of days. God Bless! :slight_smile:


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